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THE GODS 



OF THE NORTH. 



♦' 



Paris.— Printed by J. Smith, 14 ter, rue Fontaine-au-Roi. 



JDrbicatfb bg prrmt06ton to ^. JR. ti)r 
fiing of Brttmark. 



THE 



GODSyOF THE NORTH, 

AN EPIC POKM, BT 

AD\M QEHLENSCHLiEGER, 



TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL DANISH INTO ENGLISH VERSE 



BY 

WILLIAM EDWARD PRYE, 

FORMBELY MAJOR OF IHFANTRY IN THB BRITI8B SBRT1CB, AND MBMBBR 
OP THB ACADBMY DBGLI ARCADl, IN BOMB. 



V 






LONDON, 

WILLIAM PICKERING. 

PARIS, 
8TAS8IN AND XAVIER. 

t 

1846. 



H 



&c. &c. ^f. 

JAe cotimenance of an enlightened Prince has ever 
been eagerly sought after by the most distinguished 
authors. It may then well be] permitted to an humble 
admirer and translator of a poem of Denmark s greatest 
Scald to desire to place himself and his work under 
the protection of a King of Denmark, who yields to no 
Sovereign of any age or country in his love of science, 
and in his zealous furtherance of all that can adorn 
or benefit the great family of mankind. In soliciting 
the permission of dedicating this work to your Majesty, 
I had nothing to plead in favour of my request, but 
my ardent zeal for Scandinavian literature: I knew, 
however, that such zeal would be my greatest recom- 
mendation in the eyes of a patriotic Monarch, and the 
gracious permission accorded to me by Your Majesty 
I consider as my highest reward. 

I have the honour to be. 

Sire, 

Your Majesttfs most grateful and 
devoted humble servant, 

W. E. FRYK. 

Paris, January, 1845. 



PREFACE 



BY THE TRANSLATOR. 



The argument of the poem by the author is the sole 
document that accompanies the original work ; there 
are, neither notes nor preface to the edition from whicH 
I have made my translation, and "which is the only one 
I have ever seen. To the people of education in Scandi- 
navia, who are well versed in the ancient mythology of 
their country, notes are perhaps not stricdy necessary, 
inasmuch as this poem is based upon the Edda, which 
is universally read ; but since, to the generality of 
English readers, the Edda and the Scandinavian my- 
thology are but little, if at all familiar, I feel myself 
bound to furnish them with all the information on the 
subject that I have been able to collect from various 
sources ; by which they will be enabled to read this 
poem with additional pleasure and profit. 

The Scandinavian mythology, like that of all other 
nations, is founded on the personification and con- 



▼Ill PRBFACE. 

sequent adoration of the powers of nature, which may 
be expressed by the word ^' Demonism/' used in its 
Greek sense ; to this may be added the deification of 
national heroes. 

The Qr^ source of Demonism (I here borrow the 
words of Wieland in his admirable work called Agatho- 
demon) lies in the ignorance of mankind, in the early 
stages of the world, of the real causes or laws by 
which the powers of nature act, on the one side ; and 
on the other, in the innate propensity of man to reflect 
the image of the things which he can and does see, on 
the things which lie beyond the contact of his senses. 

This induces us to personify the causes of the effects 
that we behold in nature; we assign to them our 
manner of thinking and acting, and we endow them 
with a form like our own, because we ca^ conceive np 
higher model. Thus we give a supposed existence to 
an infinite number of divinities in heaven and earth, 
whose operations are seen and felt, though the agents 
themselves are unseen or unknown. Thus the earth, 
the sun, the moon, the stars, the sea, rivers, woods, 
mountains, etc. , all have their peculiar divinities ; and 
as these were considered as the cause of light or of 
darkness, of warmth or of cold, of fertility or of barcen- 
ness, of the eternal vicissitudes of ^e year, month o^. 
day, as well as of the destructive eflects of storms, tem- 
pests, floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, etc. , to the idea 
pf their existence became conjoined the belief of thei^. 



PREFACE. IX 

superhuman power. They were therefore recognised 
as the arbitrary rulers of nature, who had their separate 
principalities, circles, and districts in her empire ; and 
as we ascribe to] them our own passions, caprices, 
and necessities, we naturally endeavour to captivate 
their good will, or avert their anger, by prayers, sacri- 
fices, presents, or penances. 

On the principle of Dem<»iism, therefore, did the 
earliest legislators establish the basis of their fabric of 
social order, civilization and religion ; and it was by 
profiting by this innate inclination of mankind, that 
priests and mystagogues succeeded in consolidating 
their power and influence, which became necessarily 
augmented and enhanced by the right they arrogated 
to themselves of canonizing or deifying those heroes or 
princes, whom they were disposed to hold up as worthy 
pf adoration, or as examples to be foUowed by the 
people. 

History thus became blended with allegory and my- 
thology ; and this circumstance, combined with the 
total want of chronology, which seems lo pervade the 
early records of all nations, render^ it extremely diffi* 
cult to give to any mythology a consistent form, pro~ 
portionate in all its parts, and presenting an invariable 
doctrine or system of action. 

Proceeding thus from a similar source, the Scandi^ 
pavian polytheism has a remarkable coincidence with 
those qf Greece, Italy, Egypt and India ; and from it$ 



X PRBFACB. 

classification of the superior powers into good and evil 
genii, it bears a still more striking resemblance to tbe 
religion of tbe ancient Persians, the doctrine of tbe 
Magi, which admits the co-eiistence of, and the eternal 
struggle between, the two opposing principles of Good 
and Evil, under tbe types of Ormuzd and Abrimanes. 

It seems generally admitted that the Gothic mythology 
was introduced into the north-west of Europe by the 
Asar m Asiatic Goths, when, under the guidance c^ the 
historical Odin, they emigrated from the borders of the 
Black Sea and penetrated into Scandinavia, where they 
founded their empire ; and had they at that lime beai 
acquainted with navigatimi, they would most assuredly 
not hate stopped there, but would have invaded the 
British Islands, which would have afforded an easy con- 
quest, and a more alliuing resting-place, from tbe 
aiqterior fertility of their soil, and fsff greater mildness 
of the dimate. 

The word Asa may be derived from Asia, or both 
may be derived from the word As or Az,* which in the 
Zend or ancient Persian dialect (the link between the 
Gothic and the Sanscrit) signifies *^ powerful, elevated ;" 
and may have been applied to that part of Asia border- 
ing on Europe by its own inhabitants, as a country, par 
excellencey occupied by a super-excellent people ; on tbe 
same principle that tbe word '^ Svensk" (Swedish) is 

* This may be the origin of (he term Ace in cards. 



PREPACB. XI 

derived from ^* SveD *' (man), and denotes a man, par 
excellence; and the ocmntry itself called ^*Sverige" 
(empire of men, Sweden). The word Goth* also is a 
synonyme for what is good, great, and illustrious ; for 
in all the TeutcMiic and Scandinavian languages, the 
three words Gotii, good, and God spring*^from the same 
root ; such has ever heen the self-love and vanity of 
natioDS. The term Jotun or JMe may <m the other 
hand have been the name of some rival nation, profess- 
ing a different worship, and engaged in a long and 
obstinate warfare with the Asar or Goths, either in 
Asia M in Europe ; and by the suggestion of national 
hatred, the Asar may have given the name of their-ene* 
mies (the Jetter) to the destructive powers of nature, 
personified by the malevolent genii or giants : hence in 
the Icelandic, Danish and Swedish languages, the term 
Jotun, Jette, or Jsitte, denotes a giant and implies the 
idea formed of this fabulous race by all nations. 

The historical Odin was deified after his death, as 
were his vdves, his sons, and immediate rdations, and 
either their names may have been given to the benign 
influences of nature, or they (Odin and his relations) 
may have adopted the names of the gods of their Asiatic 
ancestors, in order to impose on their new subjects. 
The names of regions, places and abodes were transferred 
from Asia to Scandinavia ; and the said names were, 
either previously or subsequently to the first grand im^ 
migration of the Goths into the north-west of Europe, 



XII PREFACE. 

applied by them to the supposed residences of the gods 
in heaven. Among the Egyptians and Greeks, the 
names of the Zodiac and of the constellations afford a 
similar and sadsfoctory proof of the continual re-action 
of earth on heaven, and of heaven on earth/ 

The popular belief of the continual intercourse be- 
tvreen heaven and earth, between gods, demi-gods, 
and heroes in the early ages of mankind, fostered and 
encouraged by the many ingenious allegories framed by 
the priests, the sole astronomers of the time, out of the 
movements and influences of the celestial bodies, render 
either hypothesis probable, and may serve to account 
for the many incongruities that prevail in the Scandina- 
vian, as well as in other mythologies ; it is sufficient 
for the comprehension of this poem, to lay down the 
principle, that the Asar (gods) represent the creating, 
embellishing, and conservative powers of nature; and 
the Jetter (giants) , on the contrary, represent the de- 
facing, corrupting, destructive powers of the same. The 
giants existed before the gods, inasmuch as chaos, 
darkness and confusion preceded creation, light and 
order. 

With respect to the superhuman size attributed by 

*In the prosaic Edda is Ibis remarkable passage, wherein the 
name of Odin is given to Alfader, the supreme god* '' We 
suppose that he (Odin, the god) must have been so called, for 
so is called Ihe man, the greatest and the most glorious that 
we know, and well may mankind let him bear that name.'* 



PREFAGB. till 

inosi nations to evil gpirils^ it may be observed, that in 
darkness the terrors of mankind increase, and the shades 
of night magnify considerably to the visual orb every 
object in nature : hence to the letter, or evil genii, who 
wore supposed to wander about at night doing mischief, 
was lent by the imagination a form gigantic in stature, 
and features frightful to behold. Day appears ! the 
giants vanish ! or they assume the ordinary appearance 
of towers, steeples, and windmills ; or they become 
changed to wolves and bears ; or they dwindle to the 
usual human size : but are still dangerous by their 
knowledge of magic, their power of effecting transfor- 
mations, and by the artifices and illusions whereby they 
seek to mislead mankind and seduce them to the perpe- 
tration of evil. That the Jotun or Jetter, who were 
probably the aboriginal inhabitants of Scandinavia at 
the time of the Gothic invasion, should appear to the 
Asar to be giants in size, and as having the heads of 
bears, wolves, elks, or wild bulb, conjoined to human 
bodies, may be very easily and naturally accounted for. 
The Jotun race were in a very low state of civilization 
compared with the Asar, and were, probably, totally 
unacquainted with the art of tanning or weaving. They 
accordingly clothed themselves with the skins of beasts ; 
and in order to increase the terrific in their exterior 
(an object of great importance among savage nations) , 
they preserved the head, tail, and claws of the animals, 
in whose spoils they arrayed themselves ; and wore its 



X1T PRBFACE. 

head, horns and all, as a faead-dress above iheir own, 
allowing the tail to dangle behind them, while its paws 
crossed their breast. This must naturally have given to 
Ihem the aj^iearanoe, not only of a stature £Bur above the 
human size, but that also of partaking of the shape and 
nature both of man and beast, which idea wasnota litlle 
supported by the ferocity of their manners ; and such 
was probably the origin of giantism in every country.* 
I shall now proceed to give an outline of the cosmo- 
gony and principal events of the Scandinavian mytho- 
logy, as far as they can be collected firom the only au- 
thentic source extant, viz. the fSragments of the poetry 
contained in the elder or poetic Edda, discovered and 
compiled by the celebrated Saemund Sigfusson, a native 
of Iceland, who was bom in the year 1054, and died in 
1 133. He was a Christian priest of extensive talents 
and acquirements, who made a journey to Rome, a rare 
occurrence, at that time, among the clergy of the north. 
He it vras who discovered these fragments, and at once 
perceived their value, fie compiled them, and gave 
them to light, vnth a Latin translation of his ovra, 



* The figure given to the devil by the imaginatiou of the 
northern nations is a confirmation of this hypothesis; 
whereas the Orientals give to him a more seducing form ; 
but in modern times the least cultivated minds reject the 
northern type, as G6the says in his drama of Faust : 

Das nordische Phantom ist jetzt nicht mehr zu schauen, 
Wo siebstdu jetzt die Horner, Schweif und Klauen? 

(Fausi von GoOte,) 



PREFACE. nr 

under the name of the Edda, which, in the Icelandic or 
ancient Scandinavian tongue, means *' Ancestress." 

It ivas fortunate that this discovery was made by a 
man so enlightened and liberal as Semunder, who was 
free from all the prejudices .which prevailed among 
the clergy of his time. Any poem or writing connected 
with the ancient polytheistic rdligion of the country, 
was at that time considered as the work of devils^ and 
severely proscribed. The poems of the £dda» therefore, 
had they fallen into the hands of an ignorant or bigotted 
priest^ would have been burnt, and lost to posterity for 
ever. The fragments thus collected together under the 
name of the Edda are, indeed, but the disjectorum 
membra poetarum ; but they form the only document 
extant, which throws on the Scandinavian mythology a 
light at all to be depended on.* 

Of importance far inferior, but still of considerable 



* The Eddas are written in the Icelandic tongue, then 
called the Suio^Gothtc^ and sometimes the JsTorrana iunga 
(or Norse tongue), which was formerly the language of all 
Scandinavia. After the introduction of Christianity, from the 
copnection with the Empire and the Church, fliis tongue be- 
came gradually deterioriated by a mixture with the German ; 
and it is by this mixture with the German that the modern 
Swedish and Danish languages are formed. Iceland having 
been colonised by some Norwegian Camilies previous to the 
corruption of the language, has thus, from its insular po- 
sition, preserved the old language pure ; and it is now called 
Icelandic, which, though a dead language for Scandinavia, 
is a living one in Iceland. 



XVI PREFACE. 

reladve utility, is the younger or prosaic Edda, com- 
posed, rather than compiled, by Snorro Storleson, a 
kamed Icelander, who was bom in 1178, and was 
killed at Reykiaholt in 1241. This work, written in 
prose, may be considered as a commentary on the elder 
or poetic Edda, with several additions and legends, col- 
lected probably from oral tradition. It is written in a 
homely, story-telling style, and but for the elder Edda, 
would stand a chance of being considered as unimpor- 
tant as a black letter romaunt or fairy tale. In the pre^ 
face to it, there is a strange jumble of history, sacred 
and profane ; a very fantastic geography ; and an at- 
tempt to derive the genealogy of all the nations in Eu- 
rope from the Trojans : there reigns, moreover, through- 
out the whole work, a total want of chronology. * 

The most interesting part of the work, from the light, 
it throws on the elder Edda, is the Gyllfagmning, or 
Conversations of King Gyllfe, who reigned over a part 
of Sweden at the time of Odin's invasion. A curious 
appendage to the work is the *' Skalde spriket" (the 
language of the Skalds) , which forms a sort of Gradus 
ad Pamasmm of the Icelandic poetry, in whidi the 
synonymes and epithets of all persons and things oc- 
curring in the works of the Skalds, are given with ex- 
treme accuracy. But, as I have before stated, the whole 



* Snorro Storleson is likewise the author of the celebrated 
history called Heimkringlat^ a most valuable work. 



PREFACE. XV It 

importanoe of Snorro Sturleson's work is derived from 
the elder or poetic Edda. In the Gyllfaginning occurs 
the following remarkable passage : 

^ ^ Ring Gyl£fe was a prudent and very wise man ; it 
^^ caused him much surprize that the Asar possessed so 
'< much knowledge, that every thing yielded to their 
^^ will ; and he reflected whether this could proceed 
* * from their own power, or whether they derived it 
^^ firom the Gods, to whom they sacri&ced. '' 

It is from the Gyllfaginning that I borrow the fol- 
loviring account of the cosmogony, according to the 
Scandinavian mythology. 

In the beginning when nothing existed, when there 
was neither earth, nor sea, nor heaven, all was Gin- 
nungagap, * a vast unfathomable abyss. Towards the 
north of this abyss lay a world of cold and darkness 
called Miffelheim, in the midst of which was the source 
or fountain Hvergehner. On the south of Ginnungagap 
lay Muspelheim, a world of heat, light and fire. From 
the source Hvergdmer flowed twelve rivers, called col- 
lectively Elivagor. These flowed into Ginnungagap, 
so far from their source, that the poisonous matter 
they contained congealed at length, and formed a mass 
of ice. On the other hand, the sparks and flames pro- 
ceeding from Muspelheim, came into contact with this 

* For the meaning of Ginnungagap and of all the other 
proper names, see the alphabetical catalogue annexed to this 

preface. 

2 



XTiii PREFACE. 

congealed mass ; and the heal, operating on the odd, 
produced the giant Ymer, the grand progenitor of the 
race of giants. He was wicked, and so were all his 
race, who were called Hrimthusser. Shortly after the 
apparition of Ymer, arose the cow Audumbla; she 
nourished herself by licking the firost from the pillars of 
salt in Ginnungagap ; and this operation jwoduced, on 
the first day, a man's hair ; on the second, his whole 
head ; on the third the entire man ; this man was called 
Bure. Bure had a son called Bor ; and this Bor, by 
an union with a beautiful giantess of the name of 
Betsla, became the father of three sons, Odin, Yil and 
Ye, the progenitors of the Asar race. These three 
brothers slew the giant Ymer, (rom whose body flowed 
so much blood, that all the giants were drowned therein, 
except Bergdmer and his wife, who escaped firom the 
deluge on the tq> of a mountain. Bergelmer and his 
wife had a numerous progeny, and by thon weee per^ 
petuated the giant race. . Odin, Yil and Ye, having 
slain Ymer, proceeded to the creation of the worU, as it 
now exists. From the limbs ot Ymer, they created the 
earth, the mountains firom his bones, the sea fiN>m his 
blood, the heavens from his scull ; and fit>m his eye- 
brows they built Midgard, name of the abode to be in* 
halHted by the human race, and so called, because it 
lies in the middle region. They then firom two trees, 
which they found on the sea-shore, created a man, 
called Askur, and a woman called EmUa ; and placed 



PRBFACE. SIX 

tbem to dwell in Midgard. From this pair descend all 
mankind. 

On the confines of Midgard towards the north, and 
sqparated firom it by mountains of ice and snow, and 
dreary wastes eternally agitated by storms, lies Utgard, 
the domain of the giants, whose sovereign is Lok, com- 
monly called Utgard-Lok, to distinguish him from an 
Asa bearing the same name. Utgard became thus the 
region assigned to the giant race, as Midgard was to 
mankind. The Asar chose for themselves a region 
supposed to be in the heavens above the earth, and this 
region they called Asagard. There they built for them- 
sdves various palaces and tenements; and dvrelling 
therein, pass their time in joy and felicity, in banquets, 
tournaments, festivals, and amusements of all sorts ; 
or they occupy themselves in conferring happiness 
upon, and imagining inventions us^ul and beneficial 
to the human race. They occasionally descend from 
Asagard to Midgard, by passing over the bridge Bifrost, 
when they -deem it necessary to intervene immediately 
in the aflGedrB of mankind, for the purpose of relieving 
the oppressed, or of enforcing the practice of justice and 
benevdence. 

The giants, on the contrary, when they sally forth 
from their domain in Utgard, do so for the purpose of 
creating storms and earthquakes, and causing, either 
openly or insidiously, as much mischief as possible to 
gods and men. 



XX PREFACE. 

1 shall not in this pre&ce enumerate the names of 
the different gods and goddesses, nor of their abodes 
and atiribules ; neither shall 1 enmnerate the names of 
the giants, nor those of the Dvergar, of the Alfer, or of 
the Yaner. All these names will be found in a cata- 
logue, alphabetically arranged, whidi I shall annex to 
this work. Neither shall I take notice, in this preface, 
of the various episodes of the mythology, which are 
introduced in the body of the poem, and explain them- 
selves ; but I shall proceed to give an account of the 
death of Balder,* as it is related in the younger or 
prosaic Edda. 

Frigga is the wife of Odin and queen of fhe gods. 
Their son Balder, the most benevolent among the Asar, 
called by the Skalds '^ the fillet that binds together the 
<< garland of the gods," was troubled with unfrfeasant 
dreams, portending some dreadful calamity to himsdf , 
and pregnant with mischief and ruin to the universe. 
He related his dreams to the Asar, and a council was 
hdd by them, in order to devise the means -of averting 
the threatened mischief. His mother Frigga exacted 
an oath from all the dements, from, iron and all kinds 
of metals, from stones, trees, beasts, birds, fishes and 

* The details of the death of Balder are not given in this 
Poem ^^ The Gods of the North.'' ]t is only alluded to in the 
speech of the Vala, in the last canto ; but CKhlenschlager has 
treated the ''Death of Balder" separately, and made it the 
subject of an admirable tragic opera, with choruses and tro* 
chaics in the Greek style. 



PREFACE. XXI 

reptiles, that they would do no injury to Balder. When 
this oath was made, it was agreed upon by the Asar, 
that they should throw their lances at Balder, or cut at 
him with their swords, by way of amusement and ex- 
periment Of course, enchanted as he was, he remained 
unscathed from all those assaults. This rejoiced the 
gods exceedingly ; but there was one among the Asar, 
called Lok, originally of giant race, but aduiitted among 
the gods ; a being of a treacherous and vacillating dis- 
position, addicted to mockery and calumny, and inhe- 
riting from his ancestors, the giants, a strong innate 
disposition to mischief. It grieved him sore, that no 
injury could be done to Balder. He repaired to Fensal, 
the abode of Frigga, in the shape of a female, and re- 
lated to her what had past between Balder and the 
other Asar at the tournament. Frigga replied : No 
weapon can do injury to Balder, for I have exacted an 
oath in his favour from all things likely to do him mis- 
chief. Lok answered : Have you really exacted an oath 
from all things ? Frigga replied : Eastward to Valhalla 
grows a little plant, called the misletoe.; from it I 
exacted no oath^ for it appeared to me so insignificant, 
as to be incapable of doing harm to anybody. Lok 
went away, dug up the plant, and made thereof a 
spear ; he then went in search of Hsedur, twin-brother 
of Balder, and bom blind. Having found him, he 
asked him, why he did not joiii in the general amuse- 
ment, and cast a weapon at Balder. Ha;dur replied : 



%%u PREFACE. 

I am Mind, and haTe no weapon. Lck answered: 
Yoo should not be^the only one among the Asar, who 
does not do honoor to Balder ; here ! take this hnce 
(giYing to him the spear made of the misletoe), and run 
at him with it ! Hasdur did so, and Balder Cell down 
dead. The gods were inconsolable at his loss, and sent 
Hermod, the messenger of Odin, to Hda, the queen of 
death and of the shades below, into whose hands Balder 
had Mien, in order to supplicate his release. Hermod 
mounted the steed of Odin, called Sleipner, and re* 
paired to the abode of Hda, in order to demand the 
restitution of Balder. Hela at first refused to rdease 
him on any condition whatsoever ; but at length rdent- 
ing, she said : Now is the time to prove, if Balder be 
really so bdoved by all creatures, as ye pretend. If, 
therefore, every thing in nature will shed tears lor 
Balder's death, and demand his release, I will grant it. 
Hermod returned to Asagard, satisfied with the success 
of his mission. The Asar sent messengers all over the 
earth, calling upon all creatures to weep for Balder's 
death; and all creatures did grieve and join in the 
prayer for his release from the shades of Helheim, 
except an old witch, by name Tbock, who was sitting 
by the entrance of a cavern. " When called upon Iq 
join in the general lamentation, she answered spile^ 
fuUy: 

Wilh dry tears 
Doth ThOck grieve 



PREFACE. ixiii 

For the death of Balder ; 
He never did good to me 
Either in life or death ; 
May Heia retain her prey I 

and in consequence of this solitary refusal, Uela did 
retain her prey, and will do so until the end of time. 
It was now disooyered that the witch Thock was no 
other than Lok himself in disguise ; and the gods, en- 
raged at bis treachery, inflicted on him a summary 
vengeance. Changing his two sons into wolves, who 
devour each oilier, the gods make a diain from their 
intestines, and bind therewith Lok to a sharp rock in a 
subterranean abode. They then place over him two 
enormous serpents, who drop their venom on his limbs, 
and he is to remain exposed to this continual torture 
until the end of the world. But though Lok be thus 
pumshed, the calamity springing from Balder's death 
cannot be averted ; from it dates the entrance of crime 
and misery into the world, and a state of uncasing 
warfare in the heavens, on the earth, and under the 
earth; which state is to last until the great day of 
Ragnarok, called the twilight of the gods. On that 
awful day, which is to be preceded by a severe unin- 
terrupted winter of three years' duration, a great battle 
is to be fought between the gods and giants, in which 
dreadful conflict giants, gods, mankind, the whole 
universe, in fine, are to perish in a shower of fire and 
blood. After the destruction of the world, a new 



xxiir i PREFACa 

creation is to take place under the auspices of Vidar, 
the god of silence and wisdom, the sole being who sur- 
vives the general conflagration. It is he who is to 
resuscitate the gods and the human race, and to lead 
them to dwell in the palace of Gimle on the plains of 
Ida, an abode of eternal joy and felicity, where virtue 
and love are to reign triumphant, and vice and hatred 
be extinguished for ever. As the details of the destruo- 
tion of the world and of its reconstruction are given in 
the last canto of this poem, I need not dwell on them 
here.* Besides the alphabetical catalogue, e]q[)licatory 
of all that remains to be known, concerning the events 
and personages which figure in this poem, I have an* 
nexed to each canto notes, which give the hidden sense 
9nd meaning of most of the my thes and allegories ; on 
which subjects I have borrowed all my information 
from the celebrated Danish antiquarian Finn Magnussen, 
now living in Copenhag^, which information is to be 
found in his two admirable works, the one called 
* ' The elder Edda, translated with copious notes and 



* Respecting the tragic opera of Balder by Cffihlenschlager, 
which I have also translated, Sneedorf Birch says : 

*^ The mythe of Balder is one of the most beautiful and sub- 
lime poetical compositions, whose equal is not to be found 
in the Greek or Roman mythology, or perhaps in that of any 
other people. This mythe has besides furnished the subject 
of one of the finest masterpieces in the Danish literature, na- 
mely, the drama of '' Raider the Good,," by OEhlenschlager^ 



PREFACE. x\t 

illustrations;" the other, ''The Edda doctrine ex- 
I^ined and ' elucidated. " These two works afford a 
complete key to the mythes and allegories of the 
Scandinavian mythology, intricate as it is ; and armed 
thus with his (Finn Magnussen's) magic wand, I too 
may fearlessly undertake the office of Hierophant. 

With respect to this poem and its author/ it has been 
observed by a modern Danish writer of some emi- 
nence : ^^ There have been various poetical works in 
'^ all the northern languages based on the legends of 
/* the Edda ; but no author has woven thereof a whole, 
^^ nor has so happily and poetically embodied its genius, 
*' mythes and transformations, as OEhlenschl^ger in 
^'^his celebrated poem, The Gods of the North." 

To me it seems that he has combined in an eminent 
degree the peculiar excellences of three distinguished 
poets, of three distinct ages, viz. those of Hesiod in his 
Theogony, of Ovid in his Metamorphoses, and of Ariosto 
in his Orlando Furioso. OEhlenschlager seems to pos- 
sess all the inexhaustible genius, fertility of invention, 
playfubiess, and sly, but not ill-natured, satire of the 
bard of Ferrara : 

" II grande che canlo le armi e gli araori." 

Of my translation, it befits not me to speak. Like 
my archetype, I have adopted various metres for the 



* Sneedorf Birch. 



J 



xxYi PREFACE. 

different caalos, not always the flame as thofe of the 
origiiial ; for I wiAed to take a freer 9O0fpe, and not to 
fetter mysdf by an invariaUe adoption of the sdf*fianie 
metres, which would have been attended with great 
difiBculty, inasmuch as some of them are unsuitable to 
the genius of the English language, which is far less 
laconic than the Danish. I have likewise, in a few 
instances, amplified my archetype, for I was determined 
that nothing of his should be lost ; yet I trust, that 
even in those parts where I have most am{dified, I 
have never dquurted from the meaning and spirit of the. 
author. I can therefore never admit, that my trans- 
htion, though unshackled, shouki be termed ** a free 
one,'' or Bearbeitung, as the Germans express it. 

With respect to my qualifications as a transhtor, 
they are as follows : from the early age of fifteen I 
have been engaged in the acquisition of the language 
and literatmne of Germany; for the last twelve years, I 
have closely studied the Danish and Swedish languages, 
and I have lately attempted the Icelandic. 

About eight years ago, I made a summer tour in 
Denmark and Sweden, and when at Copenhagen, I 
became acquainted with Finn Magnussen, the cele- 
brated antiquarian, and with the poet OEhlenschlager 
himself, most of whose works I had previously read 
with unbounded admiration and delight, and amcHdg 
which, this poem, '' The Gods of the Nwth," had ex- 
cited my peculiar attention. Thus prqiared, I detor* 



PllEFACB. xxTit 

nuned on undertaking a metrical Tersion of the whole 
of this werk, one canio of which (the 12th) I had pro* 
vioudy translated, and published anoi^niously in a 
Parisian weekly renew, in 18S6. 

In my translation, I was farther enooiiragni by Ifae 
idea that I was thereby contributing to spread amoag 
my countrymen a taste for the mythology and generd 
literature of Scandinavia, which is capable of famish^ 
ing to the painter or the sculptor a series of subjects 
not less interesting than those derived firom the dassic 
sources of Greece or Rome. I recommend, sdso, to the 
itftenticxi of scholars, the study of the Danish and Swe- 
dish languages, as the key to an historical literature 
extremely rich and diversified, interesting to the readers 
of every European nation, but mcNre particularly soto the 
English reader, who is desirous of forming an intimate 
acquaintance with the arcana of his own language, and 
with his own early history, laws, customs, manners, 
and legends. The history of Denmark, Norway, and 
Sweden is as captivating as a romance, and it presents 
an astonishing variety of the most singular events, 
which would ^Secd admiraUe subjects for epic and dra- 
matic poetry, as well as for the historical novel. The 
English reader will perceive, likewise, that the Scandi- 
pavian mythology is the fountain bead of many of the 
inost popular tales, legends, and ballads of his ovm 
country. It will interest him to nuurk the effect of the 
introduction of the Christian religion upon the Standi-* 



UYUi PREFACE. 

navian polytheism, as therein he may trace the origin 
of many of our own superstitions and fabulous tradi- 
tions. At the appearance of the Cross, the proud edi^ 
fice of Valhalla, not seldom, alas ! polluted with human 
gwe, crumbles into dust. Asagard, with all its palaces 
and gardens, dissolves in air ! The mighty Odin him- 
sdf, the wise, the just, the beneficent Odin, degene- 
rates into a common-place demon, liable to be exorcised 
by a parish priest. The Nomor, or Fates, the solemn, 
majestic, and impartial Nomor, though stem, yet beau- 
tiful to behold, become changed to disgusting and 
wrinkled witches, and figure as such in the word sis- 
ters of Macbeth. The awful giants of Utgard sink into 
the ogres of a fairy tale ; Thor, deprived of his belt, his 
hammer, his gauntlets, and his car, dwindles into Jack 
the Giant*killer,* the familiar hero of our dajs of 
childhood; and from the graa gaas (grey goose), a 
name given to a collection of ancient legends in the Ice- 
landic tongue, finom the circumstance of great long^ity 
being attributed to that bird, may be traced our old 
nursery acquaintance and monitress. Mother Goose. -f- I 
have only to add, that I began the translation of this 

* Thor is called by the Scalds Jotni-bane^ i. e. Bane of the 
Giants : perhaps Odin himself may be the original Jack the 
Giant-killer, since one of his names is Jalc. — See the Grimnis- 
mal in the poetic Edda. 

f The French also call these tales Les Contes dc ma 
Mere COie^ 



PREFACE. xiu 

poem towards the end of the year 1836, and finished it 
in the autumn of 1837 ; but I was compelled by cir- 
cumstances to delay the publication of it until the pre- 
sent year. 

W. E. Frte. 

Paris, January 1845. 



ALPHABETICAL LIST 



OF THE PROPER NAMES OCCURRING IN OR CONNECTED WITH 



THE POEM ENTITLED ''THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 



>f 



ITith the assistance of Finn MagnusserCs work Edda- 
Isren (Doctrine of the Edda)y I have composed the following 
alphabetieai list of the proper names which occur in this 
poeniy wherein the attributes of the several personages are 
given ^ and which should he consulted whenever a proper 
name occurs , since I have not thought it necessary to repeat 
in the notes annexed to each canto what is already given in 
this catalogue. 



iE(^ll\ is the god of the sea, the Neptune of the Scandmavian 
mythology. His dwelling was supposed to be on the island 
of Hlesey, now called Lessoe, in the Cattegat. He is some- 
times called Hler i^gir. He is of a benevolent disposition ; 
hut his consort Ran, who is of giant race, is otherwise. 
The etymology of the name i£gir is from the Icelandic 
verb jEgi^ to liquify, inundate, etc. 

ALFADEK (Father of all) a name given to Odin, as king of 
gods and men. It is sometimes given to a supreme un- 
known God, pre-existent and superior to Odin himself. 



XXXII ALPHABETICAL LIST 

ALF, plural ALFER, are inferior elementary divinities, di- 
vided into two classes, viz the white. Alfer, or AUs of light; 
and the hiack Alfer, or Alfs of daikness. The white Alfer 
are related to the Asar and Vaner, and are friendly to 
mankind; they dwell with Balder in his palace of Breida- 
blik. The black Alfer are mischievously disposed : they 
are connected with the Dvei^ar (dwarfs], and like them 
they shun the light of day : they dwell in caverns and sally 
out at night only. Our word elf is derived therefrom. 

A?iGCRBOD, name of a Jettinde (giantess), who, in con- 
sequence of an amour with Asa-Lok, brought forth three 
frightful oflspring, viz. the wolf Fenris, the serpent Jor- 
mundgard, conmionly called the serpent of Midgard, and 
Hela, queen of death and of the shades below. The word 
Angurbod^t'^o\x% ** messenger of sorrow. '^ 

ARILD, Arilds-tid (time of Arild). From Arilds-time is a 
manner of reckoning among the Scandinavians, similar to 
our expression from *' Noah's time.'' It means the time 
when mankind first learned the use of fire, and to have fixed 
habitations. Etym. : ame (hearth), ild (fire), and tid{iime). 

ASA, pi. ASAR, name given to the gods of the Scandinavian 
mythology; the principal Asar are Odin, Thor, Frey, 
Balder, Vidar, i£gir, etc. The word seems to be derived 
from the word As or Az, which in the Zend or ancient 
Persian language, which forms the link between the Gothic 
dialect and the Sanscrit, means elevated^ powerful^ sub- 
lime. 

ASYI^IA, pi. ASYMOR, name given to the goddesses ; 
the principal Asynior areFrigga, Freya, Iduna, Sif, Gefion, 
Nanna, etc. 



OP PROPER NAM£S. stliiit 

ASAGARD, or ASGARB, is the region, the pecuUarterritory 
of the gods. It was supposed to be in the heavens above 
the earth, and to contain many rich domains and splendid 
buildings, inhabited by the different gods and goddesses. 
The most remarkable are the palace of Odin, called Vala- 
skialf ; the celebrated banqueting hall or pavilion, called 
Valhalla : Vingolf the peculiar palace and rendezvous of 
the Asynior, or goddesses : Trudvang, the domain of Thor : 
Fensal, the palace of Frigga :] Folkvang, that of Freya : 
Breidablik, that of Balder, besides many others which are 
^ven in alphabetical order. Geographically, Asagard or 
Asgard was the name of a territory and city on the nor- 
thern border of the Black Sea, from whence the Asiatic 
Goths originially came. The word gaard in Danish, gard 
in Swedish, means a waited or hedged inclosure, and is the 
root of the words yard^ court and garden. 

ASH, see the word Yggdrassil. 

ASRUR is the name of the first man : he and Embla, the first 
woman, were fabricated from two trees by Bor and Bure ; 
according to others, by Odin, Yil and Ve. Askur and 
Embla were then placed by their makers in Midgard, to 
dwell therein, and perpetuate their race. Askur and 
Embla are in fact the Adam and Eve of the Gothic mytho- 
logy. Etym. : aakr (ash tree). 

ASTRILD is the god of love : his name is not to be found 
in the Edda, but it appears in several of the old Sagas. 
Etym. : ^stj old Danish word signifying (lowj and iid 
(fire). 

AUKTHOR, a name given to Thor : it means Thor the cha- 
rioteer, from^A;a (to drive), Swedish verb. 



xxxiv ALPHABBTICAL LIST 

AODUlUBIiA, name of the mytholo^c cow formed by the 
Fi€U of AUader (the quisquis deorum), at the creation of 
the universe. By licking the salt rocks in Ginnungagap, 
she occasioned th^ birth of Bure, the progenitor of the 
Asar race. The cow Audumbla represents the organic 
power of nature acting upon the Chaos. The word, I 
think, means '^deyelopment,'' from the Icelandic words 
audf particle signi{ying/a(?t/t^^, and embla (laborious). 

BALDER is the son of Odin and Frigga, the most beloved 
of his father and mother, the most benevolent among the 
Asar, the sun personified, the god of light, piety and poesy. 
He was slain by his twin brother Haedur, born blind, with 
a branch of the misletoe. His fate and its consequences 
have been related at length in the preliminary discourse 
to this poem. Balder typifies the sun at the summer sol- 
stice, and his death the disappearance of the sun from the 
horizon during the winter months in the north, while 
Haedur, type of darimess, reigns. The word in Icelandic 
means briUiant^ ieautiftd^ powerful. Balder has an evident 
analogy with the Baal of the Assyrians, the ApoOo of the 
Greeks, the Harm of the Egyptians, the KrUhna of the 
Hindoos, all of which are types of the sun in its highest 
splendour. 

BAIIGE, name of a giant, who procured for Odin entrance 
into the bower of Gunliod, when he sought to make him- 
self master ofthe vase containing the precious liquor called 
Suitun^s meadj which was confided to the care of Gun- 
liod. Bolverk was the name assumed by Odin on that oc- 
casion. J^aac^ in Icelandic means a '' ring,*' and among the 
northern nations in the Gothic time promises were made 



OP PROPER NAUB8. xxxr 

by holding a ring; and tlus my the may mean Odin*s se- 
duction of Gunliod by means of a promise given on the 
ring. 

BERGELMER, name of the giant who, with his wife, were 
the only ones of that race who escaped being drowned in 
the blood of Ymer. He and his consort escaped on a 
wreck, and landed on the top of a mountain. From these 
two descended the second generation of giants. This 
mythe reminds one of the deluge of Noah and that of Deu- 
calion and Pyrrha, and the mountain, mount Ararat; for 
Bergehner means the ancient <^ ike mountain^ from berg 
(mountain] , and gamla (old). # 

BERSERK (bare sark], name given to a sort of combatants 
among the ancient Scandinavians, who affected peculiar 
ferocity, and fought with their fists and teeth, in the ab- 
sence of other weapons, and in no other clothing bat their 
slurt ; hence their name. Bergerjcgang is a term used to 
signify a combat of life and death, and is often applied to 
the exploits of Thor, to denote their peculiar danger and 
difficulty. 

BETSLA, name of a beautiful giantess, the wife of Bor, and 
mother of Odin, Vil and Ve. 

BIFROST, name of the vast bridge which unites heaven to 
earth, and typifies the raxnbovo. Over this bridge the Asar 
must pass when they descend to the world below ; over it 
must likewise pass the heroes slain in battle, when they 
ascend to Valhalla, escorted by the Valkyrior. Etym. : 
from the Icelandic words Ufa {^ move) and rost (stone). 
The bridge Bifrost was supposed to be constructed of 
stones of various colours. 



iiXTi ALPHABETICAL LIST 

BDLSKIRNIR, name of the palace or castle of Thor, in 
Tnidvang. It is tiled with copper shields, its halls are in- 
laid with gold and silver, and it has five hundred and forty 
gates. Etym. :^ Icelandic words bilid (aspect, image} , and 
skima (make |)right). 

« 

BPIiYEBK, nione assumed by Odin when he served Bauge, 
disguised as a labourer. The etymology of this word may 
be boll (a bolt) and verk (work). 

BOR, or BOr^ name of the son of Bure ; by his union with 
the beautiful giantess Betsia, he became the faiher of the 
Scandinavian triad, Odin, Vil, and Ve. Bor, in Icelandic, 
means son. But I suspect the word to be of Hebrew ori- 
gin, meaning heginning ,- for bora is precisely the Hebrew 
word wherewith the first book of Genesis begins. 

BRAGUR, or BRAGA, an Asa, the god of poetry and nui- 
ncal declamation* At the banquets of Valhallai he chaunts 
to the sound of his harp the praises of the gods and Ein- 
herier, and celebrates in high-flown language their virtues 
and warlike deeds. He is the husband of Iduna. He is 
called by the poets of the north, Bragur hkn gamle (Bra" 
gur the ancient). Etym. : Icelandic verb bragga (to adorn, 
to embellish). Our English word to brag comes probably 
from the same root. 

BREIDABLIR, name of the palace of Balder, in Asagard ; 
it is tiled with pearls ! Etym. : breid (broad, extended), 
blik (view). 

DURE, father of Bor, and progenitor of the Asar race : 
his production, effectuated by the cow Audumbla, has 

- been already related in the translator's preface. Bure in 
Icelandic has the same meaning as BOr, i. e. son. Both the 



OF PROPER NAMES. ixitu 

words oome probably from the Hebrew or Zend, and 
mean the same thing, viz. ori^n or be^inmn^. 

DAG (day), the son of Delling. 

DELLING, name of the father of Dag (day) ; the word 
means dimsion. 

DISA, pi. DISAR ; name given to the Asynior, or god- 
desses« This word is evidently of Persian origin. 

DISARSAL (hall of the Disar), name often given to the pa- 
lace of Yingolf, the peculiar place of reunion for the god- 
desses in Asagard. 

DOYRE, name of a chain of mountains in Norway, which 
seems to bear the same relation to Asagard as the natural 
mount Olympus in Greece bears to the mythological one. 

DRAPA meanBfuneriiidirffef or song of the apotheosis. In it 
were celebrated the funeral ceremonies of a deceased hero, 
his glorious actions recapitulated, and his elevation to the 
rank of an Einherier and admission into Valhalla triumph- 
antly announced. The Ei^lish word dif^e comes, perhaps, 
from the Icelandic and Swedish verb d^ka (to adore). 

DRCPNER, name of a magic ring fabricated for Odin by 
the dwarfs, at the command of Asa-Lok. This ring had 
the faculty of dropping eight other rings on every ninth 
night : by this is typified the change of the moon and its 
phases. When Odin placed the ring Drupner on the bo- 
som of his son Balder, when he laid his corpse upon the 
funeral pile, he whispered a secret in his ear. This may 
allude to the promise of resurrection, but none knew the 
secret, save Odin himself. The placing of the ring Drup- 
ner (the moon) on the bosom of Balder (the sun) may ty- 
pify the eclipse of the sun by the moon intervening. 



uxTUi AU'HABBTICAL UBT 

Etyn. : from the Icdandic verb drii^a (to drop, or 
distil). 
DTERG, pL DVEBGAR (Dwarf), mytbolo^csl beings, of 
short stature, who dwelt in caverns and were sldlfiil in 
the fabrication of metallic instruments. They are unable 
to bear the glare of the sun, and prefer to rove about at 
lught. From ihb dreumstance, and from their bang at 
times disposed to raisofaief, they are considered as related 
to the giants ; but tbey are employed bolb by gods and 
^ants to make armour and other inMniments for them. 
They are represented as being of an exceedingly timorous 
diq>osition. 
DWABFS, see DTERG. 

EHETHTRNIB, name of U>e mytfaolopeal stag which stands 
on the roof of the portal of Valasldalf, and bom wbote 
antlen springs a fonntain \riiich fnmishe* water to all 
the riven of the earth. Etym. : eiJu (n^), hgmir 
(boms). 
EDIHEHIER, name given to mortal warriors deofied for their 
valour, and admitted among the Asar ; they are constant 
guests at the banquets of Valhalla. Their occupationa 
and amusements are thus described in the prosaic Edda : 
"Every day they dress themselves in ther armour, go out 
"on horseback to fight, and cut at one another; thus they 
" pass their time. But when the hour of repast approaches, 
" they ride home to the palace, and take thtUr seats at the 
"banquet" In the elder or poetic Edda, in the chapter 
called the Vafirudnismal, are he foUomng words con* 
coming them : 

■' All the Ejuberier 
In Odin's domain, 



\ 



OF PROPEB NAUBS. xisix 

Fight together daily, 

And choose their prey of death : 

From the battle they ride afterwards 

To drink beer with the Asar, 

And to feast on the flesh of SAhrimner, 

In joy and amity. " 

Etym. : emn (one, unique], and heria (to bear arms). 

EIR, name of an Asynia, whose office it is to heal the 
wonnds of the Einherier, when they are first admitted into 
Valhalla, by squeezing into their wounds the juice of 
the beet. She is, in tkeij the goddess of medidne. 

ELDIR, name of JEgir^s purveyor ; he is supposed to dwell 
under the famous whirlpool of Halstrom, and to break in 
pieces with his club every bark that is engulfed therdn. 
Etym. : eld (fire), and may allude to the subtorranean fire 
supposed to be under Malstrom, and to cause its etfervei* 



EUYAGOR is, my(h<riogkany, the collective name of Uie 
riven that flow from the source Hvergdmer, in Ginanngm- 
gap. Geographically, Elivagor is thought to mean the 
month of the Whito Sea. Etym. : el/[a stream), and eo^a 
[to wander). 

ELYEBBOT, name of a hiO or harrow in the island of 
Sealand (Denmark), so called from its being the soppoted 
habitation of al/s or eltfgs. in Danish, hoi means haghi. 

EMBLA, name of the fint woman, according to the Scan- 
£navian mythology. See Asknr. EmUa means kiborkm$^ 
produdict. 

WKSUS, nanw of the mythologk woH, be^utlai hf 



XL ALPHABETICAL LIST 

Lok on the witch or giantess Angurbod. He is malignant, 
frightful to behold, and his nostrils vomit fire. His pre- 
sence inspired the gods [with such terror, that they en- 
deavoured to bind him with chains of iron and copper ; 
but these he easily burst asunder ; they then had resource 
i6 a stratagem, and succeeded in binding him with a 
magic chain, which was composed as follows : of the noise 
of cat^s feet, of the beards of women, of the breath of 
birds, of the saliva of fish, of the nerves of bears, and of 
the roots of mountains. This chain he could not break. 
The Asar then cast him down into Niffelheim, and placed 
him at the gate of Helheim, the residence of Hela. There 
he is to remain chained until Ragnarok ; he will then 
break his chain, join in the battle of the giants against the 
gods, and devour Odin ; but he will be afterwards himself 
slain by Yidar. By Fenris wolf is typified the subter- 
ranean fire, which it is supposed will one day occasion the 
conflagration of the universe. Etym. : Fenia (giantess or 
sorceress), risi (to spring from). 

FENSAL, name of the palace of Frigga, in Asagard. Pro- 
bable etym. : fengisall (happy in acquiring riches). 

FIALAR, name of the mythologic cock which is to crow at 
Ragnarok, to excite the gods and giants to combat. 
FicJlaTy in Icelandic, means cock, 

FINNAFENG, name of the cook of i£gir, god of the sea ; 
he is slain by Asa-Lok for refusing him admittance to 
iEgir's banquet. The etymology may be from the Ice- 
landic words ^^ea (a piece of flesh), ^ny^ (a capture). 

FOLRVANGUR or FOLKVANG, name of the palace of 
Freya in Asagard, into which are admitted, after deatl^, 
faithfiil lovers and virtuous women. 



OF PROPER NAMES. zli 

FORSETE, an Asa, the son of Balder, and god of justice ; 
he dwells in his palace Glitner. He often descends to 
earth, to sit in judgment, and hear causes under the shade 
of the ash-tree Yggdrassil, near the fountain of Urda. 
He is the son of Balder, inasmuch as justice proceeds 
from light ; and as Urda is the Noma or destiny of the 
past, it is from her fountain (i. e. consulting the records 
of the past) that he acquires experience. The etymology 
of this word is for (before), and sete (set), ergo prceses^ 
president. 

FREY, or FREYR, is the god of liberty, joy and fecundity^ 
he is the son of Niord, and brother of Freya. He is in- . 
voked for sunshine and good crops. He represents the 
sun at the winter solstice. The new year'fl feast was in- 
stituted to do him honour ; it was the day of his birth, and 
a season of festivity and joy. He was the owner of a 
magic sword, but falling in love with Gerda, a beautiful 
damsel of Jotun race, he gave it away to her father, in 

order to obtiun his consent to their union. He is to be 
slain by Surtur at Ragnarok. Etym. : frei (free], frio 
(seed). It is remarkable that in Egypt the sun was called 
PhrL The Swedish word froid (joy) is probably de- 
rived from the name of this god. 

FREYA is the Venus of the Scandinavians, the goddess of 
love, beauty, pleasure and fecundity ; she is the sister of 
Frey, and daughter of Niord. She is the most beautiful 
of all the Asynior. She was mamed to Odur ; but when 
the goddess Iduna, with her golden vase containing the 
fruit of immortality, was stolen from Asagard, Freya, in 
conunon with the other Asar, lost her youth ud beauty ; 
md Odur, disgusted at the change, fled from her em- 



iLiT ALPHABETICAL LIST 

bareaUSf which replaces the Gght of the sun in winter, in 
the extreme northern regions ; Frey himself typifying the 
sun. Others suppose that Gerda typifies the earth, and 
her amour with Frey the relationship between the earth 
and the sun. 

GESTUR, name of a blind giant who proposes riddles and 
enigmas to Skimir on his journey to the world below, 
for the purpose of visiting Gerda. 

GIALLAR, name of the horn of Heimdal, which he blows, 
to give notice to the gods of those who arrive at, and 
attempt to cross the bridge Bifrost. Etym. : Icelandic 
verb ffola (to sing, to call out). The English verb eaUy 
and the Swedish and Danish verbs kallaj kalde^ come 
from the same root. 

GIANTS, called in the Scandinavian dialects Jotun, letter, 
J&ttar, the evil genii of the Gothic mythology. At Ragna- 

' rok they are to fight with and defeat the Asar on the 
plains of Yigrid ; but they are themselves to perish in the 
conflagration that ensues, and they will never be resusci- 
tated (i. e. in a future state of existence there will be no 
violence or crime). The giants dwell in their peculiar 
territory, Jotunheim, in Utgard, and are ruled by their so- 
vereign, Lok, commonly called Utgard-Lok, to distinguish 
him from an Asa of the same name. The ^ants were 
supposed to be of various forms and races, some having 
the heads of wild beasts joined to human bodies, and 
others the human form entire. They understood magic, 
were capable of assuming divers shapes, and of increasing 
or diminishing their stature ad Ubitum. They seem to 
bear a great resemblance to the Titans of the Greek, mid 



OF PROPER NAMES. xtT 

to the Afrites of the Mohammedan theology, and all are 
borrowed from the Per^n system, the doctrine of the 
Magi. 

GIMLE, the most beautiful of all buildings, in which vir- 
tuous mortals are to dwell together with the gods, after the 
reconstruction of the universe, in eternal joy and felicity. 
The grave is often termed by the Scalds, '' the verdant 
''gate of Gimle.'' The German word Himmel (heaven] is 
derived therefrom. Etym. : from the Icelandic word^'m- 
Hr (splendour). 

GINMJNGAGAP, name of the vast abyss which existed 
before the present world, and separated Niffelheim (region 
of fog) from Muspelheim (region of heat}. Etym. : Grtn- 
nin^ (between), and ^api (to yawn or open). The follow- 
ing verbs, in different languages, all come from the Ice- 
landic verb sf^pij and have the very same meaning, viz. 
to gape ^ English ; gapa^ Swedish ; gdbe^ Danish ; gapen^ 
Dutch tgaffeuj German ; and the Greek words x«^9 X^^ 
and X'^f-^ (chasm) are likewise from the same root. 

GLADHEEH, a general name given to the abodes of the. 
gods in Asagard, and often used as a synonyme for Val- 
halla. Etym. : glad (joy» gladness), and heim (home, or 
abode). 

GLADHEDHASAL means haU of the abode of gladneee^ ap^ 
plied as Gladheim. 

GLITNER, name of the palace of Forsete, the god of jus- 
tice. The word means equalisation. It represents the sta- 
tion of the sun between August 23 and September 23, 
beginning of the autumnal equinox, corresponding with 
the sign of the zodiac Libra (the balance) . 



xLTi ALPHABETICAL LIST 

GNA, an Asynia, mettenger and confidante of Frigga. 
When she executes the commissions of her mistress, she 
rides on the steed Hofirarpur. 

GNYPA, name of a cavern in Niffeiheim. Etym. : Icelandic 
word gnypr (steep). 

GUDBRAKD, or Guldbrand, name of a fertile valley in the 
province of Aggerhuys, in Norway. 

GIILDVEIGE, a female divinity, personifying riches. Etym. : 

gvLid (gold), veUge (weigh). 

GUNLIOD, name of the daughter of Suttung, to ^ose care 
her lather confided the vase containing the predons beve- 
rage called Suitung*8 mead. Seduced by Odin, she sur- 
renders to hin^the vase. 

GYLLFE, name of a king of Jotun race, who reigned over 
a part of Sweden at the time of the invasion of the his- 
torical Odin. 

6TLLINBORSTE (golden-bristled), name of the mytholo- 
gical golden boar, fabricated by the dwarfs at the instance 
of Asa-Lok, and presented to Prey to serve him as a steed, 
mounted on which he travels round the world. Ac- 
cording to Finn Magnussen, it is a type of the sun. 

GYMER, name of a Jotun or giant, the father of Gerda. 
Etym. : gima (transmitting light)* 

HJENIR, name of an Asa, the god of intellect ; he accom- 
panies Odin on his travels. By some he is considered as 
identic with Ft/, the second person of the Scandinavian 
mythological triad. 

nSRFADER (Ceither of the fight), one of the many names 
given to Odin. 



OF PROPER NAMES. xlvii 

HAGBARTH, name of a Norwegian prince, celebrated for 
his valour and his attachment to Signe, a Danish princess. 
Having had the misfortune to kill Signers brother in single 
combat, he (alls into the hands of the mother, who, to 
revenge her son^s death, causes Hagbarth to be hanged. 
Signe, in despair at the loss of her lover, destroys herself. 
The unfortunate love of Hagbarth and Signe has been the 
theme of many a northern ballad, and (Bhlenschlager him- 
self has made it the subject of a most interesting and 
pathetic tragedy. 

HARBARD, in this poem, is the name of a ferryman of 
Jotun race, who refuses to ferry Skimir {[cross a river 
until he has answered his questions and displayed his 
knowledge. 

HEIDRUNA, name of the mythological goat who stands on 
the roof of Yalaskialf, and whose teats afford a 'constant 
supply of hydromel to the guests at Valhalla. 

HEMDAL, or Heimdaller, name of an Asa who stands as 
sentinel at the bridge of Bifrost, to giye notice of the ap- 
proach of strangers by blowing his horn Giallar. He is 
constantly on the alert to prevent surprise on the part of 
the giants. Of him it is sud, that he was born of nine 
mothers ; that he had a tooth of gold ; that he could do 
without sleep ; see at a distance of a hundred miles, as 
well by night as by day ; hear wool grow on the backs of 
sheep, and grasses shoot. By his doing without sleep 
may be meant the absence of night from the northern 
polar regions during the summer months. At Ragnarok, 
he will blow his horn with all his force, to excite the gods 
to combat. Etym. : Hein (abode), and dallr (horn). 



xLViii ALPHABETICAL LIST 

HEmRRDf GLAS, name given to the universe in the Scan- 
dinavian mythology. Etym. : Heim (abode), krin^ (round 
about), and Ids (clasp). 

HELA, or HEL, name of the queen of death and of the 
shades below, daughter of Asa-Lok and of the giantess 
Angurbod. She is frightful and appalling to behold : her 
body is of white or natural colour below the girdle, but 
all above is blueor livid, from congealed blood. The gods, 
terrified at her sight, exiled her from Asagard, and cast 
her down into Nifielheim, to rule over the dead. There, 
in her castle Helheim, she receives the ghosts of the 
worthless and cowardly, and of those who die of old age 
or uckness, who omit to cut runes to Odin. Of Hela it is 
said in the prosaic Edda, that her abode is an^tuish; her 
table, /amine : her attendants, delay and fruitless expee- 
tatum ; her threshold, precipice ; her bed, lingering sick^ 
ness ; her bed-curtains, heartrending care. 

HELHEEH (abode of Hela), name of a strong castle situate in 
Niflelheim, in the midst of eternal damp, ice, snow and 
darkness. Herein Hela receives anddetains her dead guests. 

HERHOD, an Asa, the messenger of Odin ; from his name 
and attributes he bears a strong resemblance to the Mer- 
cury of the Greeks, Hermes. 

HERTHA (the Earth), a purdy allegorical divinity, and 
sometimes used as a synonyme for Frigga. In the pagan 
lime her image was bathed once a year by female slaves, 
captives of war, who were afterwards drowned by the 
priests in her honour, that they might not reveal to profime 
ears the description of the charms and mysteries they had 
seen and witnessed. 



OF PROPER NAMES. xlik 

HBLDCR, name of a heroine in the northern legends, after- 
wards deified and enrolled among the Yalkyrior. The 
story of Hildur, as related by Samsoes, is as follow^ : Her 
lover Hedin and her father Hogni slew one another in 
single combat. One night, in the violence of her grief, 
she by her magic spells evoked the ghost of Hedin ; but 
her spells were so powerful, that the ghost of her father 
Hogni also arose. The two ghosts commence fighting, 
and avery night they renew the combat, which is destined 
to last until Ragnarok. Hildur is present and applauds 
their c«iurage. From this circumstance. War is called by 
the Skalds Hildur' 8 game, 

HLESEY, an Island in the Gattegat, supposed to ^be the pe- 
culiar residence of i£gir, the god of the sea. Hlesey is 
now called Lessoe, The word oe in Danish and 6 in 
Swedish means Island. 

HLIDSKIAIiF, name of an immense high tower in Odin's 
palace Valaskialf, from the top of which he can see all 
that passes in the world below. 

HLORRIDA, a name given to Thor, when he drives his 
car through the air, causing thunder. Etym. : Hliod (sound), 
and rkto (to ride). 

lILY?i[, name of an Asynia, sent by Frigga to warn mankind 
of sudden danger during darkness ; from its etymology it 
evidently typifies the flash of lightning that occurs at in- 
tervals during a very dark night. The Danish word lyn 
agnifies * lightning." 

HNOS, name of a beautiful female child, the daughter of 
Freya. Etym. : hnosa^ an Icelandic word meaning a pre- 
dims thing . 



L ALPHABETICAL LIST 

HOEl>UA or HWDER, an Asa, twin brother of Balder; he 
was bom blind. How he slew his brother Balder with a 
lance made of a branch of misletoe has been already re- 
lated. H6dur is the type of night and darkness, as Balder 
is that of light and day. 

HOFYARPUR, name of the steed mounted by Gna the mes- 
senger of Frigga. 

HRIMFAX, name of the steed which draws the chariot of 
Night. *It means '^ frost bringer;'^ this steed is sometimes 
mounted by Skada. 

HRDITHIJSSER, mythologically, the name of a race of 
giants; the word means ^' frost-demon ''; and from the 
word ^^2^«, demon or evil spirit, comes probably the English 
word deuce. Historically, they were probably the name 
of some Tartar tribe at war with the Asar, and who ha- 
rassed them exceedingly on their march. From being 
good archers, and shutting one eye when they took aim, 
they obtained the reputation of being one-eyed. 

HRINGHORN, name of the bark or vessel of Balder, on 
board of which his body was placed, and burnt after his 
death. It derives its name from the circumstanoe of its 
prow being decorated with rings of horn. Among the 
Skalds a ship was often compared to an animal, and its 
masts to the horns of an animal. These masts were made 
fast with iron rings round their circumference, and this 
I take to be the surest origin of the etymology of the name 
Hringhom or Ringhom. 

HROSVELGER, name of a giant, who, in the shape of an 
eagle, causes tempests by the flapping of his wings. 



OF PROPER NAMBS. li 

Etym. : hrosi (corpse), and svelge (swallow), the wind 
being the cleanser of all impurities. 

HRUGNER, name of a giant made of stone, and animated 
by the giants, in order to aid them in the conflict with the 
Asar. Within his breast, instead of a heart, he had a 
three -comer stone. He typifies probably a volcano, 
since in the Icelandic tongue Hrungnir signifies '^ some« 
*^ thing that makes a violent noise." Hrugner was slain 
by Thor. 

HCGIPT et BfUiNlN, names given to Odin's two ravens, w o 
descend to earth, and bring back to him the news from 
the nether world ; when not employed as messengers, 
they perch themselves on Odin's shoulders. By Hugin is 
meant ^^ thought," and by Munin '' memory." 

HVERGELMER, name of a source or fountain in Niffel- 
heim. Etym. : Hver (urn or kettle), and gamla (old). 

HYMIR, name of a giant, with whom Thor goes a fishing 
in the disguise of a peasant lad. He catches the serpent 
Jormundgard, but Hymir files in two the anchor which 
served as a hook, and the serpent escapes. 

IDA, IDAY ALLEN, name of the plain, on which the 
resuscitated Asar and the human race are to be assembled 
by Yidar, after the reconstruction of the world. 

ID1INA, name of an Asynia, wife of Bragur. She is the 
guardian .of the golden vase, containing the apples of im- 
mortality, the juice of which gives to the gods perpetual 
youth, health and beauty. She was once carried off from 
Asagard by the giant Thiasse, aided by the treachery of 
Asa Lok ; and the gods became at once old and feeble ; 



Lii ALPHABETICAL LIST 

but when Iduna was recovered, and brought back to 
Valballa with her precious vase, the gods recovered all 
their power and advantageous attributes. This mythe of 
Iduna*s apples has its parallel in the Amreeta (drink of 
immortality) in the Hindoo mythology. 

ISSEFIORD, name of a large creek or fiord^ in the island 
of Sealand (Denmark), lying towards the north. 

JETTE, pi. JETTER, JOTU?i[. So were called the evil 
genii or giants of the Gothic mythology. Historically, 
they were probably the aboriginal inhabitants of Scandi* 
navia, and were of Celtic race, with black hair. Being 
engaged in continual and deadly warfare with the Asar 
or Goths, from the time of Odin's invasion, these last 
may have, from a spirit of national hatred, transferred 
the appellation Jotun to the evil genii of their own mytho- 
logy, before that epoch termed Hrhnthusser, In spite, 
however, of the hatred and jealousy between the Asar 
and Jetter, they sometimes, like the Spaniards aud Moors, 
formed political and also matrimonial alliances. 

JOBMU?fGAIU), name of the mythologic serpent, called 
also the serpent of Midgard. This serpent was ofTspring 
of Asa Lok, by the giantess Angurbod. His enormous 
size and frightful appearance excited such terror in the 
breast of the gods, that they hurled him down into the 
ocean that surrounds Midgard. There he is to. remain 
until Ragnarok. On that day he will join the giants in 
the battle against the gods, and i^ill be slain by Thor; 
but Thor will perish himself immediately after, from the 
effect of the serpenfs venom. This serpent is repre- 
sented by the poets as holding his tail in his mouth, and is 



OF PROPER NAMES. Liii 

no doubt an emblem of the great Ocean, which was 
thought in those times to encircle the earth. His venom 
represents the dangerous effects of humidity. In the 
Hindoo mythology, there is the serpent JsTaga^ which 
typifies the Ocean. Etym. : jord (earth), munr (mouth), 
yard (inclosure). 

JOITN (giant) ; see Jette and Giant. 

JOTUNIlEim, peculiar province of the Jotun or giants in 
• Utgard. Geographically, it is thought to denote Siberia. 

LAUFEY, or LAUFETA, name of a giantess, the mother of 
Asa Lok. 

LEIRE, name of the ancient capital of Denmark, situated on 
the Issefiord, in Sealand. Leire was the theatre of many 
an important event. The modern city of Roskild is very 
near the spot, where Leire once stood. 

lilF and LIFTRASIR, names of two mythological beings, 
who remain concealed in the wood of Hoddmimer, at the 
destruction of the world, and from whom the new race of 
men are to spring ; these beings are purely allegorical, 
for ///'signifies " lif»," and Uftrasir ** producer of life." 

LlNDERNiES, name of a promontory on the southern coast 
of Norway, in the canton of Mandal. 

LODER, an Asa, who conferred beauty on mankind ; by 
some he is confounded with Ve, the third person of the 
Scandinavian mythologic triad. 

LOFNA, name of an Asynia, who presided over marriage. 
Etyfai. : Icelandic verb lofa (to promise, to betroth). 

LOK, ASA LOK, UTGARD LOK. In the Gothic mytho- 



uv ALPHABETICAL LIST 

logy, ihere are two important personages of the name of 
Lok or Loke, in the earliest times perhaps ideatic, but in 
the latter divided ; namely Lok of Utgard, the supreme 
ruler of the giants or malevolent spirits, belonging to our 
world's system, who dwells in and rules over Utgard ; and 
Asa Lok, originally of giant race, but admitted among the 
Asar. According to Ling, a modern Swedish poet, in the 
notes to his poem, called Asarne (the Asar), the mythe of 
the two Loks is thus explained : Utgard Lok represents 
the subterranean fire and its destructive effects, earth- 
quakes and volcanic eruptions; Asa Lok represents the 
deleterious qualities of the air, such as tempests and un- 
wholesome exhalations. In my opinion, the most simple 
explanation of this mythe would be as follows: Utgard 
Lok typifies physical evils and calamities, and in this respect 
he resembles the Siva of the Hindoos ; as possessor of sub- 
terranean riches, he resembles the Plutus of the Greeks, 
who, as we are told, was related to Pluto. Asa Lok is 
the type of moral evil, or the propensity to vice in human 
nature, which has been personified by the Orientals, under 
the various names of Satan, Ahrimanes, Belial and Eblis. 
The punishment inflicted on Asa Lok for his treachery 
has been already related. At Ragnarok, he will break his 
chain, and join in combat with the giants against the gods. 
He and Heimdal will destroy each other. 

LOPTUR, a name given io Asa Lok ; it means one roho 

runs throuf/h iJic air, 
MALSTROM, name of the famous whirlpool on the coast of 

Norway, near Lofoden. Maistrom signifies ** millstream." 

It is called by the Skalds the mill of JEgir. 
MAArSECiARM, name of the mythologic winged goblin, 



OF PROPER NAME8. ly 

who constantly pursues the moon (maane), and will 
swallow her up at Ragnarok. 

MANHEIM (abode of man), a name often given to Midgard, 
or the earth. 

ftlEGINGARD (girdle of strength), name of Tbor's belt, 
which had the faculty of doubling his force when he 
girded himself with it. 

MIDGAAD, name given to the earth, as being in the middle 
region between Asagard and Utgard. 

IHIMER, an Asa, the god of eloquence and of wisdom ; he 
sits by the wave of Urda, called the fountain of wisdom, 
of which he is the guardian, and which springs near the 
ash-tree Yggdrassil. Urda is the destiny of the past, so 
that the allegory is clear ; by consulting the records of the 
past, we gain wisdom and experience. 

MIOLNER (breaker in pieces), name of Thorns hammer, 
type of the thunderbolt. 

MOKKURKALF, name of a gigantic figure made of clay, 
and animated by the giants, that he might aid them against 
Thor. They gave to him the heart of a horse. This may 
allude to the custom among many heathen nations of con- 
secrating an idol of clay, wood or stone, by putting therein 
the heart of a man, or of some animal. Mokkurkalf was 
slain by Tialf. 

HUSPEL, MUSFELHEIM, name given to the region of 
fire and heat which lies to the south of Ginnungagap, and 
from whence at Ragnarok, Surtur will collect flames, 
and set fire to the universe. Flames are often termed by 
the Scalds '< the children of Muspel.'' 



i«vi ALPHABETICAL LIST 

INAGLEFARE (ship of nails), name of a bark or vessel 
built by the giants. As its name imports, it was built of 
men's nails. On board of this vessel, the giants will em- 
bark at Ragnarok, to give battle to the gods. The giants 
are continually at work to increase its size ; hence, those 
who neglect to cut off the nails from the hands and feet of 
dead men, contribute to the building of this vessel, and to 
the mischief that will ensue from it. The popular belief 
of the continuation of the growth of the hair and nails 
after death, has probably contributed to this mythe. 

NANi\A, an Asynia, the wife of Balder, renowned for her 
piety and constancy. At his death she threwherself on his 
funeral pile, and was burned with him. 

NARF, name of a giant, the father of Night, and also the 
name of one of Asa-Lok*s sons by Sigyn. 

NASTRO 0, name of a frightful and noisome marsh in 
the subterranean world, filled with venomous serpents, 
and destined as a place of punishment in the future life for 
those who are absolutely incorrigible. 

NIDAROS, a city in Norway of great historical celebrity, the 
ancient capital of the kingdom, and now called Trond* 
hjem, and by the Germans Drontheim. 

NIDDlNc; means '* scoundrel ^^ ** worthless fellow;'*^ it was 
the greatest insult to a Scandinavian to call him a Nidding, 
and the offence could only be expiated by the blood of the 
offender. 

NIDHOG name of a frightful dragon that dwells^ in the 
marsh of Nastrond, and who continually gnaws the root 
of the Ash-tree Yggdrassil. Etym. : nid (reproach, abuse), 
hogg (blow), in Icel. 



OF PROPER NAM^S. ltii 

NIFFELHEIM, department of Utgard, region of eternal 
cold, fog, darkness and horror, lying to the north of Gin- 
nungagap. It is sometimes used as a synonyme for Ut- 
gard, or for Helheim. J^iffel means ''fog/' 

NIORD, or NIORDUR, is the i£olus of the Scandinavians, 
the god of the winds. He is of Vaner race, and is father 
of Frey and Freya. He was admitted among the Asar to 
preside over the winds and is the type of the north wind in 
particular. He is invoked by fishermen and travellers. 
He was afterwards married to Skada, daughter of the 
giant Thiasse. — Niord is of a very friendly and benevolent 
disposition. See the articles Skada and Vaner. 

NORINA, pi. iXORXOR, name of the Parcae, or Fates of 
the Scandinavians ; they were three in number, viz Urda, 
Noma, or destiny of the past ; Verdandis, of the present ; 
Skuida, of the future. They sit near the Ash Yggdrassil, 
the tree of time, where they weave the woof of human 
destiny. 

ODIN is the Chief Asa, the king of gods and men, the Ju- 
piter and Mars of the Scandinavian mythology, and the 
grand progenitor of the Scandinavian kings. Some think 
that this was the name given to the supreme God of nature 
by the Asar, previous to the invasion of the north-west 
of Europe by the historical Odin, whose real name is said 
to be Sigge (conqueror) ; and that the name of Odin was 
assumed by Sigge during his life, or given to him by his 
followers after his death. Others think that the real name 
of the great conqueror was Odin, and that his name was 
given to the supreme unknown God. At all events, the 
historical Odin was deified after his death, and being con- 
founded with the mythologic one, was from that period 



LTiii ALPHABETICAL LIST 

worshipped as the supreme ruler of the universe. Odin 
has an immense number of appellations, the most re- 
markable of which are Alfader, Hoerfader and Valfader. 
As god of war he is accompanied by two favourite wolves, 
one called Gere (rapacity), and the other Freke (audacity), 
to whom he gives his share of food at the banquet of Val- 
halla; for according to theEdda, Odin lives on wine alone. 
Odin.has also two favourite ravens, one called Hugin 
(thought), the other Munin (memory), who sit perched on 
his shoulders, and whom he sometimes dispatches to bring 
him news from the nether world. At Ragnarok, Odin is 
to be swallowed up by the wolf Fenris. Odin bears a 
lance called Gugner. 

ODUR, name of the husband of Freya, whom he aban- 
doned on the loss of her youth and beauty. He was 
changed into a statue by Odin, as a punishment for his 
desertion. He was the inventor of the art of making 
wine. 

OLl}F, a king of Denmark, slain by Starkodder, whom he 
afterwards meets in Valhalla. 

Q VASER, name of a chief of Vaner race by his mother ; 
his father, name unknown, was an Asa. He taught man- 
kind arts and sciences, but particularly poetry. He was 
killed by two dwarfs, who mixed his blood with honey, 
and poured it into a golden vase. This drink had the fa- 
culty of inspiring poetical talent. Suttung, the brother 
of Qvaser, revenged his death on the two dwarls, by bind- 
ing them to a rock in the mid-ocean, where they suffer 
perpetual hunger. He then took the vessel containing the 
sacred liquor, and gave it in charge to his daughter Gun- 
liod. This liquor is called by the Scalds '* Suttung's mead," 



OP PROPER NAMBS. lix 

and is used as a synonyme for poetical inspiration. Etym. : 
QpofftTy Icelandic word meaning ''breath'^ or '* inspiration.'' 

RAGIHAROK, called also ** the twilight of the gods,'' is the 
last daj/f according to the Scandinavian mythology, the 
day, on which the whole creation, gods, giants, and man- 
kind are to perish in a shower of fire and blood. Ragnarok 
will be preceded by a dreadfully severe winter of three 
years duration, called the Fimbul-vetr. At Ragnarok the 
wolf Fenris will break his chain, and so will Lok. A grand 
battle will be fought between the gods and giants on the 
plains of Yigrid, wherein the latter will be victorious ; but 
twill be a fruitless victory, for Surtur, with flames from 
Muspelheim, will set fire to the universe, and involve 
victors and vanquishedin general destruction. Vidar alone 
will survive the general conflagration and reconstruct the 
universe. The etymology of the word Ragnarok, I con- 
ceive to be the two Icelandic words : ra^na (to imprecate, 
implore vengeance), and rok (violent tempest). Some 
derive it from re^in (dynasts or gods), and rockur (twi- 
light). 

RAN or BAJNA, name of a giantess, wife of i£gir the god of 
the sea. She is of an extremely malevolent disposition, 
and takes pleasure in causing shipwrecks and drowning 
sailors. In the pagan time, when seamen found their 
ship about to sink, it was their custom to hold a piece of 
money in their hand, to propitiate Ran. In fact, Ran per- 
sonifies the dangers and destructive properties of the sea ; 
i£gir the salubrious and beneficial ones. The word Ran 
in Icelandic means '* rapacity, " and from it comes the 
Papish verb rane (to rob). 



LX ALPHABETICAL LIST 

4 

RATATOSK, name of the mythologic squirrel that resides 
on the branches of the Ash Yggdrassil, and employs him- 
self in running up and down the tree, in order to sow dis- 
cord between the Eagle Hrosvelger, who sits on the top, 
and the dragon Nidhdg, who lies at its root. This will re- 
mind the reader of the fable of i£sop of the eagle, the cat 
and the sow. 

RINDA, name of a princess of Garderike, seduced by Odin. 

ROSKA, name of a peasant^s daughter who, with her brother 
Tialfe, was adopted by Thor and accompanied him on his 
travels. She was elevated to the rank of an Asynia, and 
placed in Folkvang, to dwell with Freya. 

RUi\£S, mean ^' letters of the alphabet*' or writings. 

SAGA, an Asynia, the goddess of history ; she is represented 
with a graver and shield, on which she engraves events 
worthy of commemoration. 

SiEHRIMNER, naipe of the mythologic hog, whose flesh fur- 
nishes food for the banquets of Valhalla. It is killed every 
morning and resuscitated every night. 

SJF, or SIFIA, an Asynia, the wife of Thor, renowned for 
the beauty of her hair. Asa-Lok, to revenge himself 
on Sif for spuming his addresses, cut off her hair while 
she was asleep ; but he was compelled by Thor to procure 
for her a new head of hair, made of gold by the dwarfs. 
Hence gold is often termed by the Scalds Si/s hair. 

SIGNE, name of a Danish princess. — See Hagbarth. 

SIG YIV, the wife of Asa-Lok; she alone does not abandon him in 
his adversity ; and when he is chained in the subterranean 
cavern, with the enormous serpents hanging over hifn, 



OF PROPER NAMES. lxi 

she holds out a vase to catch the venom they let drop. 
When the vase is filled, she goes out to empty it ; the ve- 
nom of the serpents then falling on Lok, causes him to 
writhe with pain, and this movement causes earthquakes. 

SlOFiVA, an Asynia, daughter of Freya ; she presides over 
sleep and sends pleasing dreams. Etym. : Icelandic verh 
9ofna (to sleep). 

SKADA, daughter of the giant Thiasse; she comes to 
Valhalla in a fury, to revenge her father^s death, becomes 
pacified at the sight of Balder, and having caught Niord 
at a game of blindmanVbuff, obtains him for a husband ; 
but their tempers being very different, she being capricious 
and violent, and he placid and benevolent, they soon quar- 
rell. They cannot agree about their place of residence; 
she wishing to dwell in the mountains inland, and he pre- 
ferring to dwell on the sea-shore. Niord says : 

" I i;vas tired of the mountains, ; 
Though 1 was not long there; 
Only nine nights : 
The howling of the wolf 
Was disagreeable to me 
Accustomed to the chaunt of the swan.' 

Skada says : 



(« 



I could not sleep 

On the banks of the sea, 

On account of the screaming of birds ; 

And the sea-gulls by their cries. 

Disturb my repose every morning.** 



As Skada means '* mischief'^'' in all the Teutonic and 



Lxii ALPHABETICAL LfST 

Scandiaavian dialects, (to scathe, in English), the allegory 
is clear : by her union whith Niord she represents the mis- 
chievous qualities of the wind, he the salubrious and bene- 
ficent ones. 

SKALDS, or SCALDS ; so the poets were called in Scandi- 
navia. 

SKIDBLAD?(ER or SKYBLADNER, name of a ship given 
to the gods by Gerda, on her marriage with Frey. When not 
required for navigation, it could be folded up like a scarf. 
It seems to resemble the Sverga, or ship of heaven, of the 
Hindoos; and they are both probably types of the clouds, 
for «%is/*cloud," and hlad^ leaf, in the Icelandic tongue. 

SRINFAX, name of the steed who draws the chariot of day. 
Its meaning is '* light-bearer," the 9<»0*(;>opor of the Greeks. 

SKIRNIR, name of an Asa, messenger of Frey ; he is sent 
by Frey to negociate his union with Gerda, and by Odin 
to procure a cord to bind the wolf Fenris, both which 
commissions he executes successfully. Etym. : Icelandic 
verb skvma (to clear up). 

SRRYMER, name of a giant who meets Thor on his 
journey to Utgard and leads him astray. He mystifies him 
also by giving to him a wallet filled with provisions, but 
which Thor could not untie. Etym. : Icelandic word 
skrum (boasting), from which comes the Swedish verb 
skrymma (to look big). 

SRHLDA, name of the Noma, or destiny of the future. 
Etym.: aktdu (shall), in IceUndic. 

SLEIPNER, name of Odin's charger. He has eight feet ; 
he typifies the wind with its eight principal points. 



OF PROPER NAMES. Lxiii 

SNOTRA, an Agynia extremely graceful, who inspires man- 
kind with elegance of gesture and diction. Etym. : Ice- 
landic verb snotra (to teach manners). 

STARKODDER, name of a celebrated Scandinavian war- 
rior. He slew king Oluf in a perfidious manner, but hav- 
ing afterwards greatly distinguished himself by a series of 
brilliant actions, he seems to have obliterated his crime, 
for he was deified after his death. He may be considered 
in some measure as the Hercules of the Goths. 

SIJRTDR, name of a formidable giant, who, with flames 
collected from Muspelheim, is to set fire to the universe 
at Ragnarok. Etym. : surtr (swarthy in colour). 

SUTTUNG ; Suttung's mead ; see Qvaser. 

SVEA, SVITHIOD, names of Sweden. 

SY^\ name of an Asynia who in this poem figures as the 
porteress of Valhalla, but in the Edda she is porteress of 
the palace of Freya. 

THIASSE, name of a giant, father of Skada. In the shape 
of an eagle he carries off Asa-Lok, and compels him to 
join in a plot to steal away Iduna from Asagard. When 
Iduna is delivered, Thiasse pursues her in the shape of a 
griffin, but is burnt to death by falling into the bale fire at 
Breidablik. 

THOR, an Asa, son of Odin and Frigga, the god of war, 
strength, and thunder. He plays a most prominent part 
in the Gothic mythology. He is the arch enemy of the 
giants, and is constantly employed in punishing crime and 
oppression and protecting the weak and virtuous. His 
various actions are described in this poem, of which he is 



LXTi ALPHABETICAL LIST 

nifies e^kmoHy angiic^ out^ and tbe etymology of gard 
has been already given as meaning enclosure. Utgard-Lbk 
is the ruler of Utgard. 

CTGARD-LOK, see LOR. 

VAFTRCDNER, name of a giant celebrated for his wisdom, 
who is consulted by Odin under the name of GangrOd 
(weary wanderer.) Vaftrudner does not, it is true, figure 
in this poem, but I introduce him into my catalogue be- 
cause I am obliged to quote some passages in a chapter of 
the Edda bearing his name, in order to elucidate a pas- 
sage of (Khienschlilger. Etym. : vafi (eminent), druina 
(to be proud). 

VALA, name of the sibyl or prophetess of the Gothic my- 
thology, who foretells the destruction of the world. 

YALASKIILF, name of the palace of Odin, in Asagard, in 
which he holds his court. 

YALFADER (lather of the choice), name given to Odin 
when he presides at the banquets in Valhalla. 

VALHALLA (hall of the choice), name of the celebrated 
banqueting hall of Odin, in Valaskialf, and theatre of the 
convivial festivities of the gods and Einherier. 

VALKYRIE, pi. Valkyrior, name of the celestial virgins 
who attend the fields of battle in order to carry off to Val- 
halla the souls of the heroes who fall. They are mounted 
on white horses, with fiery manes and tails. At the ban- 
quets of Valhalla they hand round to the guests the mead 
and ale. The word Valkyrie means ehotMr of the slamj 
because they dioose from the heaps of slain those who 
have shown most courage. Owing to this belief, the word 



OF PROPER NAMES. lxtu 

valy which ori^nally meant ''choice/' was applied to a 
field of battle ; hence the Danish word valplads and the 
German waMpkUZy both signifying '* field of batlle/' 
Kyrie comes from the old Teutonic verb Jcuren (to 
choose) ; there is therefore, properly speaking, tautology 
in the word Yalkjrrie, both the words of which it is com- 
posed signifying choice. By the Valkyrior are thought to 
be typified those meteoric appearances in the heavens, 
which were supposed to forebode wars and tumults. 

VANER, YANAHEIBI ; mytholos^cally the Vaner were 
elementary divinities, and Yanaheim was supposed to be 
situated in the heavens, above the earth, immediately 
above Midgard. Geographically, Yanaheim, according to 
to Snorro Sturleson, was a country lying immediately east- 
ward of the Tanais or Don river ; but the historical Yaner 
are represented as a highly civilized people, from whom 
the Asar learnt tb^ arts and sciences and all that embel- 
lishes life. Now 1 am yet to learn that the inhabitants of 
the banks of the Don were ever remarkable for refined 
cvlture ; 1 therefore reject the hypothesis of Snorro Sturie- 
son, and adopt that of Finn Magnussen, who Ihinks that 
by the historical Yaner are meant the Asiatic Gredcs or 
the Persians, from whom the Asar or Goths might well 
learn the arts of civilization. Niord was a chief of Yaner 
race ; Niord became father of Frey and Freya by his sis- 
ter. Such a matrimonial connection was perfectly lawful 
among the ancient Persians, and is so among their des- 
cendants, the Partus or Guebres, to this day. A learned 
friend of mine, a Portuguese by birth, by name Dr. Con- 
stancio, much given to the study of philology and the 
Eastern languages, thinks that by the Yaner and the 



Lxriii ALPHABETICAL LIST 

country inhabited by them, Vanaheiniy may be meant the 
country bordering on the lake Van or Erivan, in Arme- 
nia ; and this seems extremely probable, as the Armenians 
were a Persian peuplade, highly civilized, and professing 
in days of old the same religion as the Guebres. Mytho- 
logically, Miord and his son and daughter may have been 
divinities worshipped in Armenia, Persia, and Asiatic 
Greece, and the Asar may have adopted and incorporated 
that worship into their own mythology, just as the Romans 
and Greeks adopted many of the divinities and religious 
ceremonies of the Egyptians. I think I can perceive a 
strong resemblance between Frey and Horns, between 
Freya and Astarte, and between Niord and Nereus. 
VANDHOSE (water-spout), brother of Skada. £tym. : vand 
(water) and ho8e (trowser) in Danish. 

VAR, an Asynia, the goddess of truth ; she registers the 
vows of mankind and punishes perjury. 

YARDOE, an island of East Finiunark on the porth-eastem 
extremity of Norway, in latitude ISl* north. 

YAULUNDER is the Vulcan of the Gothic mythology. His- 
torically he was a smith, celebrated for the beanty and 
excellence of his workmanship in metals. He forges wea- 
pons and armour for the gods. 

YE, name of the third person in the triad of the Scandina- 
vian mythology, and soft of Bor. 

YERDAPn)IS, or Verandis, name of the Noma or destiny of 
the present. Etym. : verandi^ participle present of the 
Icelandic verb vera (to be). 

YIDAR, an Asa, god of wisdom and of silence ; he wears 
thick shoes, hence he is often called by the Scalds, *' the 



OF PROPER NAMES. lxix 

god with the thick shoes/' He never breaks silence, but 
his look is so penetrating that he discovers the most secret 
thoughts of men. He is to play a most important part at 
Ragnarok, and will slay the wolf Fenris. Vidar alone 
will survive the general conflagration and reconstruct the 
universe on an imperishable basis. Etym. : Icelandic 
word vitra (wisdom). 

YDi, one .of the sons of Bor, and second person of the 
Scandinavian triad, Odin, Vil, and Ye. Of this triad 
Sneedorf Birch thinks that Odin typifies air or breath ; 
FU, light ; and F'e^ warmth. The death of Ymer, there- 
fore, by Odin, Vil, and Ye, typifies the annihilation of ice 
and snow, and elicitation of the products of the earth by 
air, light, and warmth. 

YINGOLF, name of a palace in Asagard, considered as the 
peculiar place of rendezvous of the Asynior or goddesses. 

YGGDRASSIL, name of the mythologic Ash-tree, called 

^* The tree of the world. '' Of this tree it is thus written in 

the prosaic Edda: *' This ash is the first and greatest of all 

''trees, which spreads its branches over the whole earth. 

''It springs from three roots. Near one of these roots, which 

" pushes the trunk and branches towards Asagard, flows 

' ' the fountain of Urda, which contains the water of wisdom, 

^' and of which Mimer is the guardian. The gods often de- 

"scend to this spot, to sit in judgment on the actions of 

"mankind and of one another. They interrogate Urda. 

'^ The second rootof Yggdrassil stretches towards the region 

" of the Hrimthusser frost-giants of Utgard. The third root 

^' extends below; as far as Niffelheim, and is continually 

"gnawed by the dragon Nidh6g.'' By this, according to 

Finn Magnussen, is meant the gradual deterioration of the 



LVL ALPHABETICAL LIST 

world, which will end in its destruction; for the Ash 
Yggdrassil is no other than the symbol of our world. May 
I be permitted to add my conjecture towards the interpre- 
tation of this mythe : By the first root, which pushes stem 
and branches towards Asagard, may be meant the elevation 
of our thoughts towards heaven. By the second root, 
extending towards the. region of the ferocious Hrimthusser, 
may be meant the tendency of our minds to fraud, rapine 
and violence ; and by the third root, gnawed by Nidhdg, the 
writhings of conscience and of envy : the etymology of the 
word Nidhdg seems at least to give some weight to my con- 
jecture. 

Of this tree it is further written in the prosaic Edda : 
''On the branches of this Ash dwelk an Eagle : he know- 
'' eth much, and between his eyes sits a Hawk, called VAder- 
''falner. A squirrel, called Ratatosk, runs up and down 
'' the trunk of the Ash-tree, and endeavours to excite dis- 
'' eord between the Eagle and the Dragon Nidh6g, who 
'' dwells at its root. Four stags spring round the Ash- 
' ' tree, and bite its branches : their names are Dainn, Dvalen, 
^'Dunneyr, and Durathror. " Among the various inter- 
pretations given of this mythe, the following, given by 
Grundtvig, seems to me the most happy. 

^'Yggdrassilisthegenealogicaltreeof thehumanrace ; its 
'' triple root denotes the three sorts of men who are to be 
''found on earth, viz; Those who cooperate powerfully 
'< for a noble and eternal object (children of the gods) ; 
' ' Those who work powerfully, but for an ignoble and tern- 
" poral object (children of giants) ; and lastly, the idle, use- 
'Mess and powerless, relations of Hela. The Eagle denotes 
" the human mind in its greatest elevation; the Squirre^ 



OF PROPER NAMES. Lxxi 

*^ denotes the tempter or type of temptation, who is in 
*' compact with the Dragon. The Hawk denotes the spirit 
''of divination or presentiment of the future, which agi- 
''tates the human brain ; and the four Stags denote the 
'' four passions or desires of power, of honour, of wealth, 
^' and of sensual pleasure. " 

YHER, name of the giant, the great progenitor of the {^nt 
race. He was slain by Bor and his sons, as has been already 
related ; and from his body the world was constructed, ac- 
cording to the following lines in the poetic Edda in the 
chapter called Vaftrudnismal : 

From Ymer't body 

The world was created ; 

The mountains iW>m his bones; 

The heavens from the ice-cold giant's head. 

Ymer is evidently the type of the chaos. 

As the reader may be curious to know how Ymer propa- 
gated his race, I quote the following question and answer 
from the Vaftrudnismal. Odin in disguise interrogates, and 
Vaiitnidner answers : 

Tell me, Vaftrudner ! 

How did the giant.of old (Ymer) 

Beget children without a giantess ? 



Answer 



From the arm of the giant, 
According to the tradition, 
A boy and girl sprung together ; 
According to others a six-headed son 
Was prodomd flrom the Teet of the giant. 



L\^u ALPHABBTICAL LIST 

Additional remarks respecting VaJhcdla. — The origin 

of its conception and meaning. 

Finn Magnussen says in his notes to the Vaftnidnismal, 
speaking of the Einherier and their amusements: '*This 
'* account of the amusements of the heroes in Valhalla seemSt 
^'with respect to the ideas of our forefathers about the 
*' games suited to warriors, to correspond perfectly with 
^'Xenophon's relation of the warlike diversions of the 
'^ Thracians, at a great banquet in his time. These are his 
^' words : ' A large round table was prepared ; the guests 
' sat round it on benches strewed with leaves, and drank 

* out of large drinking-horns. After they had drank in 

* honour of the gods, and sung to them hymns of praise, the 
^ most distinguished Thracians rose up, and began to dance 
' and put on their armour, leaped up and down, and fought 
' with naked swords. One cut at another, who immediately 
' fell in such a manner, that we all thought he was slain ; 

* but it was merely a feigned death in a mimicked fight. 

* Then the^ Paphlagonians gave a great shout. The con- 
^querors stripped the conquered of their armour, and 

* chaunted a hymn in honour of Sitalka ; but the other Thra- 
^ cians bore out the fallen, and stretched them out, as if they 

* were dead, although no mischief had happened.^'' 

(XenophofCs Anabasis^ book vi.) 

'* After that, other warlike spectacles and dances took 
*' place, in which women, who were real Amazons, took 
^^ part. As such games were the delight of the Thracians 
'* on the borders of the Black Sea, who were either closely 
<^ related to the &oths or the same people, so were they also 



OF PROPER NAMES. uuiii 

^ ' among the customs of our forefathers ; at least thdr ideas 
^* of the glories and delights of Valhalla seem to confirm it/' 

Opinion of the Swedish poet ling respecting ValhaUa. 

Valhalla is the type of heroic renown. In all ages and 
among all people, cowards have heen held in abhorrence ; 
for without courage, strength of soul and firm will, nothing 
noble can be efTectuated. He who exposes his own life to 
save another's, he who year after year endures captivity with 
fortitude in order to enforce the truth of his principles, or 
meets death with courage, in order to save another from 
that iate, acquires now as formerly our admiration and 
esteem. He was called by our forefathers Valhalla's guest ; 
and on that account Ragnar Lodbrook and Gunnar enter- 
tained the hope, while expiring under the fangs of serpents, 
to be received in Valhalla, because they bore their sufferings 
with resignation, equally with those heroes who had fallen 
in battle. But at Ragnarok Valhalla itself will disappear ; 
i. e. heroie renown appertains merely to this earthly life, and 
with it must finally pass away. Goodness alone lives eter- 
nally on the peaceable ever-green island which rises from 
the sea, and on which stands the palace of Gimle. 

I here annex a translation I made of a chorus in the tra- 
gedy of Sigurd Ring, by the Swedish poet Stagnelius, as it 
gives a lively picture of the Valkyrior and of their occupa^ 
tions on the field of battle and in Valhalla. 

Aye! such is the Noma's immutable doom ! 

On the earth ever discord shall rage ! 
Put a banquet eternal in Asagard's dome. 

All sense of past sufferings assuage \ 



Lixnr ALPHABETICAL LIST 

See her flery^maned steed the Valkyrie bestride 
Towards Valhall fresh hosts of Einherier to guide I 

O^er the heath, where the warriors in hattle array 

Stand glittVing in armour, she flies ; 
To death first she dooms them, then bean off her prey 

To partake of the bliss of the skies ; 
Not a thought doth the haughty one deign to bestow 
On the tear of the bride, on the mother^s deep woe. 

Now thiekens the combat I now onward they dash 

At the buglers sound savage and shrill ! 
Bows twang I arrows whiz I lances shiver ! glaives dash I 

Unyielding each host struggles still I 
Now blood runs in torrents adown the green mead. 
And the rivers are choked with the limbs of the dead I 

On rides the Valkyrie ; she knows where to ehuse 

The bravest midst thousands of slain ; 
She dismounts ; bids them rise ; thenhereourseshe pursues. 

Till she reaches the Asar's domain ; 
With pride she parades them still reeking with gore, 
Still scarr'd with deep gashes, great Odin before. 

Her armour now doffing, at Vallader's feast. 

Crowned with roses, in purple arrayed, 
The Valkyrie shines, and presents to each guest 

The goblet high brimming with mead ; 
The heroes her graces bewitching behold. 
And Bragur entranced strikes the harp-strings of gold. 



OP PROPER NAMES. uiT 

,With respect to the proper names, it may be asked why 
there is sometimes a variation in the manner of spelling 
them ; why, for instance, Frey should sometimes be called 
Freyr; Niord, Niordur; Heimdal, Heimdaller; Jormundgard, 
Jormundgardur. The explanation thereof must be traced 
to the Icelandic language itself. In one of the declensions 
many of the masculine nouns, and almost all the proper 
names mascuhne, take er, ur and r as terminations of the 
nominative case which are omitted in the other cases ; and 
the Danish; Swedish and German translators of the Edda 
have adopted the names indifferently without assigning any 
reason. 



THE GODS 



OF THE NORTH. 



ARGUMENT OF THE POEM. 



The Asar (Gods}, and the Jetter (OianU), represent the two conflictiiig 
powers of nature ; the former represent the creative embellishing power ; 
the latter the defacing destructive one. Lok * vacillates between both, as 
the variable spirit of time. He proposes to Thor to travel to Jotunheim 
(abode of the giants), without the knowledge of Odin« in order to punish 
the arrogance of the pants. Thor is mystified in the subterranean world, 
and obliged to return unsuccessfhl ; but he makes two young people happy, 
and elevates them to the rank of gods, because they left their home and 
parents, and confided themselves implicitly to him. He again forms the 
resolution of revenging himself on the giants for their presumption, and en- 
deavours to catch the serpent of Midgard. He travels this time with the 
consent of Odin, and without Lok. Now he shows himself in the plenitude 
of his power, and is on the point of catching the Serpent, when it is saved 
by the giant Hymir. In his disappointment, Thor loses his hammer 
Micelner. 

In the mean while Lok pays court to Sif, the wife of Thor^ but meets 
with a contemptuous repulse ; to revenge himself, he outs off her hair while 
she is asleep. Compelled by Thor and Frey, he procures (torn the Dvergar 
(dwarfs), new hair for Sif spun from gold, a new hammer for Thor, the 
steed Oyllinborste for Frey, and the ring Drupner for Odin. 

Now it happens shortly after, that Lok sets out on an adventure with 
Odin and Hcenir ; but he is caught by the giant Thiasse, who compels him 
to carry off Iduna fh>m Valhalla, which he willingly undertakes, in order 
to mortify the gods. With Iduna vanish health, strength, beauty auid 
youth from Valhalla ; the gods lose theii power. The Nomor (fkles), 
being consulted, announce to them, that '* bravery with the help of love 
shall compel time to fidelity, and blooming life again return to Valhalla.*' 
Now Thor compels Lok to bring back Iduna, and Freya lends to him her 
falcon*s wings for that purpose. During Iduna^s absence, Freya has lost 
her husband Odur, who deserted her, because her youth and beauty had 
vanished. Skada forces her way into Valhalla, and obtains Niord for a 
husband. Frey, having nothing to do, ascends to Hlidskialf, which is now 
no longer brilliant, and where hitherto none but Odin dared to repair. He 
finds himself punished for his temerity by beholding a beautiiU mountain- 
damsel (a rare exception), of whom he becomes violently enamoured. Now 
Iduna returns to Valhalla, and with her return health, youth and beauty to 

* Am- Lok 



Lxxx ARGUMENT OF THE POEM. 

the gods. The gods are descrihed ; the joys of V^alhalla ; the palaces of 
heaven ; the Einherier. Starkodder arrives in Valhalla, and is raised to 
the rank of a god. Bragar sings a song in honour of Gefion. The (ove of 
Frey for Oerda brings to pass a reconciliation between the gods and giants. 
Skimir, Frey's messenger, consoles his master, by reminding him of Odin's 
own amonrs. He travels on his master's account to the abode of the be- 
loved damsel, overcomes all difficulties, solves the riddles of the giants, 
shows to Gerda the portrait of Frey, and softens her heart. Her father 
gives his consent, on condition that Frey shall cede to him his sword. 
During his travels, Skirnir has likewise procured for Odin a chain, where- 
with to bind the wolf Fenris. On the marriage day of Gerda, the wolf is 
bound, but Tyr loses his hand. In this manner the operative influence of 
the giants on the gods is made manifest. The rash Tyr defies the brave 
Thor ; Thor becomes angry, revenges himself on the innocent human race, 
and repents his anger. The mariage of Oerda is celebrated a second time 
at the palace of i£gir, god of the sea. There Lok, enraged at the captivity 
of Fenris, and his own expulsion from the banquet, endeavours to spoil the 
joy of the meeting, insults the gods, and is compelled to fly. Banisded, and 
weary of wandering about, he again earnestly desires to visit Valhalla, and 
promises, in order to atone for his effrontery, to procure for Thor the true 
hammer Mioelner from the giant-king Thrymur. Thrymur consents to 
restore the hammer, but only on condition of Freya becoming his bride. 
Lok brings this message to Valhalla, after the Alfer had procured for him 
his pardon f^om the Asar. Vexed at the contempt of Thor, and seeing the 
posribility of doing a treacherous action, he gives way to the temptation, 
and through the means of Heimdal persuades the Asar to a stratagem ; so 
that Thor, dressed as Freya, goes down into Utgard. When Thor is in 
Utgard, and the hammer Micslner is placed in his lap, he revenges himself 
by slaying all the giants, except the old ones and the children, who remain 
oonoealod in the deepest recesses of the mountain with Utgard-Lok. Then 
arises ttom the vapour of the blood a remarkably tall female figure, sent by 
Alfader. She prophecies the fall of Valhalla, the death of Balder, the 
torments of Lok, the approaching destruction of the universe, and the pu- 
nishment of the gods for their deceit; which is, that their existence shall 
for a tone pass away, and the whole creation perish by fire. After this, 
the consoleB them with the assurance of a future life, where innooenoe and 
blisB are to reign eternally. 



THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 



Cfl#®® I. 



THOR SETS OUT ON AN ADVENTURE WITH LOK. 

A STOBT wonderful to bear 

Recorded stands in ancient runes ; 
Now to my golden faarp give ear. 

And ponder well its mystic tunes! 
The strange events, which yet remain 

Unraveird of the Asar bright, 
Be mine the glory to explain, 

And all their actions bring to light. 

Th^ eternal wars, the deadly hate 

Between the Gods and Giant race ; 
Of Asa-Lok the guile innate ; 

Alfader*s wisdom ; Preya^s grace ; 
The Berserk fights of Thor the bold ; 

The joys of Valhall, dome sublime : 
All these 1 sing : come, young and old ! 

And listen to my varied rhyme ! 

* For all proper names, the reader is requested to consult the Alphabelical 
List preceding this poem. The notes to which the figures refer, are to be 
found at the end of the poem. 



THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 

Thus sang in days of yore a Scald, 

And I from him repeat the song : 
A land there is, Trudvanger calPd, 

Where frowns a castle huge and strong : 
This building boasts its massive walls, 

And many a spacious colonnade ; 
Its forty and five hundred halls 

With silver or with gold inlaid. 



How many forests, lakes and fields 

On every side this pile surround ! 
The roof is tiled with copper shields, 

Which shed a dazzling lustre round. 
Therein the mighty Asa dwells, 

Whom mortals term the god of war; 
Odin excepted, he excels 

All other gods : his name is Thor. 



Around his waist a belt he wears. 

And gloves of steel his hands protect ; 
Miblner, a hammer vast, he bears, 

When in the fight he stands erect. 
That belt a tenfold power doth give. 

When round his loins he girds it tight; 
Nor doth the foe remain alive, 

On whom his hammer haps to ligbt. 



CANTO 1 



Late vanquish'd by the Asar brave, 

Excluded from the solar ray, » 
Bound in the mountain's deepest cave, 

In fetters Lok of Utgard lay. 
But vain the giant monarch's doom, 

Naught can his stubborn hate controf; 
Here in the midst of cold and gloom 

Fresh thoughts of vengeance fire his soul. 



Like singed threads his chains he rends. 

Bursts through the surface of the earth, 
To Upsala his course he bends, 

Of Northern gods the sacred hearth ; 
He there extinguishes the fire, 

And shakes to dust the templets walls. (1) 
This deed excites great OcUn's ire ; 

To council he the Asar calls. 



Each at the council board, I ween. 

Gave the advice that seemM him fit : 
But Thor with hand beneath his chin 

Lost in reflection seemM to sit. 
Much did the hero muse and scan, 

How best to punish Loki's crime, 
And by some well-concerted plan 

To crush the Lord of Jotunheim. 



THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 

To rove in search of glorious war 

This Asa chief finds much delight, 
High seated in his golden car 

Drawn by two goats of colour white. 
Earth well may tremble with dismay, 

When through the skies this chariot ro lis, 
For clouds then veil the face of day, 

And awful thunders shake the poles. 



But 'mongst the Asar one calPd Lok 

Holds rank, nor undeserved the name; 
For much he joys with spiteful mock 

To lacerate his neighbours' fame. 
However he shine in outward grace. 

Hollow and false is all within : 
Before the Ash (2) he oft must pass 

In penance for his various »n. 



With scorpion wit and envious tongue 

Though oft he gives the Asar pain, 
Still his arch jests and gibing song 

Compel them strait to laugh again : 
His features fair are own'd by all. 

But all his mind perverse deplore ; 
He takes his seat in Odin's hall 

Upon the bench next Asa-Thor. 



CANTO r. 

The Nymphs (4), that ValhalPs dome adorn, 3 

With breast of lily, cheek of pink, 
To all th^ Einherier in their turn 

Now bear around th Hmmortal drink. 
The largest horn high-filPd with mead 

Was drainM by Thor the chieftain bold : 
And then to seek his goats he sped, 

And yoke them to his car of gold. 



He grasps his hammer, mounts his car. 

And bids Lok place him by his side ; 
The thunders roar, the lightnings glare, 

As down the vault of heaven they glide ! 
Heimdaller views them roll along. 

And greets with trumpet loud and shrill : 
The seven virgins (4) tune their song, 

And Thor salute with gracious smile. 



Then Lok on fraud and guile intent, 

Thus Thor address'd : ^^ Methinks, 'tis time 
Our bitter foes to circumvent. 

And quell the powers of Jotunheim ; 
Thou mayst defy the force of fire. 

And laugh to scorn the earthquake's shock *x 
Feelest thou not a strong desire 

For once to visit Utgard Lok ?" 



THE OODS OF THE NORTH. 

Then Thor : ''My conlet braves the steel ; 

My hehn unbniised in fight remains : 
And, be he dwarf or giant fell, 

Whom Hiohier strikes, it ends his pains.*' 
Now to the earth they swift descend ; 

The birds sing gaily in the wood, 
And every flower its head doth bend, 

Owning the presence of a god. 



The sun now sinks beneath the main, 

The night obscures its parting rays ; 
Rolling athwart the starry plain, 

The moon its silver disk displays : 
Two funeral mounds appear in sight : 

Then first the eyes of Asa Thor 
GiistenM in triumph. Late at night 

They stand a peasant's hut before. 



They ask for shelter ; lowly bows 

The peasant, and replies : ^' My lords ! 
You Ve welcome here to seek repose ; 

But little else my roof affords.*' 
They needs must stoop to enter through 

The cottage door ; and there they found 
The peasant's wife and daughter too 

Sitting the lowly hearth around. 



CANTO I. 

The daughter was a graceful maid 

With azure eyes and golden hair. ^ 
They rose ; and thus the matron said : 

** Alas! ?but meagre is our fare: 
Mere roots and herbs our meal supply ; 

No flesh invigorates our blood/' 
*' Fear not !" the thundVer made reply, 

*< This night shall be no lack of food/ 



See now the giant-queller raise 
His hammer ! lo I his goats he slew ! 

Such was his custom : with amaze, 
Yet not displeased this act to view, 

The old dame stared ; then rushed in haste 
Upon the board to spread the cloth ; 

While Lok, as cook, prepared to baste 

, The meat, and mix the savoury broth. 



A wondrous fact I now reveal : 

Thor drives these goats around the earth. 
And slays them for his nightly meal, 

When no provisions cheer the hearth. 
This done, their skins and bones he takes, 

And casts them in a comer strait : 
And lo ! those goats, when he awakes, 

Again stand living at the gate. 



8 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

See from the wood the peasanf s iod 

Laden with Eaggots now appear! 
He piles them on the hearth : anon 

The smoking steaks the travellers cheer : 
No dish had they; Thor's buckler broad 

This want supplied : and now they feed 
With hearty zest, while the goats^ blood 

FumishM to all delicious mead. 



No sooner was the supper past, 

Thor rose observant of his rite ; 
The bones within the skins he cast ; 

This did not 'scape the urchin's sight } 
His liquorish tooth would fain partake 

Of daintier food than met the eye ; 
So unperceived a bone he brake, 

And suck'd the marrow greedily. 



The morning dawn'd : with choral strain 

The featherM songsters fill the skies ; 
The sun ascends : the travellers twain 

From slumbers light refreshed arise. 
To war and bold adventure prone, 

Each buckles on his armour strait, 
And whets his weapon on the stone. 

That stands without the cottage gate. 



CANTO I. 

As in the car the Asar sprung, 

The urchin^s trick was manifest ; 
One goat iimpM heavily along, 

As if with lameness sore oppressM. {6) 
Thor was enraged ; his colour fled ; 

He bit his lips ; his eyes flash'd fire ; 
Well might the wretched peasant dread 

For wife and child the chieftain^s ire. 



But more so, when he saw the chief 

Brandish on high his hammer vast : 
The danger threatenM, no relief 

At hand ; with fear he stood aghast : 
Then, kneeling down, he humbly sued 

Forgiveness for the stripling's guile, 
Offering all he had : the God 

At such an offier well might smile. 



Relenting at the peasant's prayer, 

And pitying his extreme distress. 
He bade him rise with friendly air. 

And gave his hand in pledge of peace. 
*' If to my care thou wilt confide 

Those children stout,'' said Asa-Thor, 
^' I will for alt their wants provide. 

And teach them both the art of war." 



10 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Pleased to escape with a whole sidn, 

This offer glad the swain embraeed : 
Lok gave to each a javelin, 

And strait their limbs in armour laced : 
Their glist'ning eyes the joy reveal 

Of Tialfe bold, and Roska bright : 
To serve the God how proud they feel, 

And court the perils of the fight. 



The Lord of Trudvang now designed 

On foot to seek the giant's lair : 
His car and goats he left behind, 

Confided to the peasant's care. 
Impatient of delay, he Cedn 

Would march direct to Jotunheim. 
They journey on o'er many a plain, 

And rivers cross, and mountains dimb. 



And now can I assert with truth, 

Tialfe became a warrior good ; 
No son of earth could e'er this youth 

Surpass in zeal and fortitude : 
His strength by Thor was duly prized, 

As gay he tmdg'd across the field, 
And on his brawny shoulders poised 

The heavy bag with viands BUM. 



CANTO 1. 11 

E*en Freya's self could scarce excel 

Young Roska for her shape and air ; 
Her bosom now is cased in steel, 

A golden helmet crowns her hair. 
Thor towers aloft in phites of brass, 

With Mi61ner in his right hand gleaming : 
Lok trips along in light cuirass, 

His dark locks o'er his shoulders streaming. 



Now inarching on, the tedious way 

They oft beguile with gay discourse ; 
Sudden a wild tempestuous sea 

Appears in sight, and checks their course! 
The roaring billows reckless roll'd 

White foaming 'gainst the marble steep I 
And Rana's voice was heard to scold 

With frightful scream from out the deepl 



The mighty monarch, iEgir hight. 

Consort of Ran, o'er ocean reigns : 
Beneath a roof of pearl so bright 

He sits, and stem his right maintains ; 
With diamond-pointed pole the wave 

He guides ; a silver helmet, starr'd 
With coral, decks his temples grave. 

And sea-weed forms his shaggy beard. 



'* THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

On HIesey you may find his throne 

Of musdeHdiell : this monarch sage 
Can by a frown or wink alone 

The billows* utmost wrath assuage. 
'Twixt him and Miord a pact holds good, (6) 

And when Niord rides across the deep, 
On coal-black courser mounted proud. 

The winds are hushM, the billows sleep. 



Lok now with terror stood appalFd ; 

This did not 'scape Thor's eye severe. 
*< Ha!'* to his comrade stem he call'd : 

* ' Let not thy courage fail thee here i 
Take heart! take heart! if thus we shrink 

At th' onset of our enterprize, 
What shame! what scandal! think! oh think! 

Thou didst thyself this plan devise." 



Thus said, into the foaming sea 

He plunged, and bade them follow strait : 
No more delay; they all obey; 

And spite of helm and corslet's weight 
With nervous arm they stem the brine ; 

With fear no more their bosoms quail : 
They heed not now the mermaid's whine. 

And laugh to scorn the snorting whale. 



CANTO I. IS 

On, on they swim with hope elate, 

In spite of warring wave and wind ; 
And though the waves high o*er them beat, 

Full many a mile they leave behind. 
At length the lightning's vivid flash 

By fits reveals a glimpse of land ; 
And breakers, that around them dash, 

Give hopes to gain the adverse strand. 



How wondrous is thy strength, O Thor ! 

Encouraged by th* example set 
Of that brave chief, they reach the shore. 

And land in garments dripping wet. 
The moon, emer^^ng from a cloud, 

A wild and barren heath displays : 
They droop, but Thor cries out aloud : 
* ^* Now, by yon moon's benignant rays, 



<( We may some dwelling find at last ; 

Let us inland our course pursue 1" 
O'er sand and ice they struggle fast, 

While cold and bleak the north-wind blew. 
Roska at length, with marching spent, 

Implored her fellow*trav*llers' aid ; 
Lok carried now the damsel Coint, 

Lok ever lov'd a beauteous maid. 



14 THB OODS OF THE NORTH. 

Now burst the clouds with thunder riven, 

And dark as pitch the sky became, 
Save when athwart the vanlt of heaven 

A meteor lanced a transient flame 1 
The rain in torrents now descending, 

Strode terror in eadi trav'Uer's breast ; 
E'en Thor himself^ that chief unbending, 

Could scarce his mind of fear divest. 



He girds his belt around him tight : 

*' Here Lok of Utgard's juggling play 
Hath ample scope the heroes bright 

Of Asagard to lead astray. 
But short shall the fiend's triumph be ; 

His insolence \nll 1 chastise^ 
And teach him low to bend the knee 

Before the rulers of the skies ! '' 



Thus Thor. At length a hut they find ; 

They enter ; it may serve them well 
For shelter from the piercing wind 

And rain, that still m torrents fell. 
But such a hut was never seen ; (7) 

Open remaiuM one aide entire ; 
'T was one vast door ; the diiefa, I ween, 

This entrance strange did much admire. 



CANTO 1. 13 

They loose their wallet now to seek 

Their food, by hunger gaunt compelPd ; 
Poor Roska, with a pallid cheek, 

Sat in a comer, half congeaFd. 
Two legs of goat they soon consumed, • 

Then laid them down to seek repose ; 
But Thor alone the watch assumed, 

His thoughts forbid his eyes to close. 



His cheek upon his palm recUnes ; 

He sits beside the spacious door ; 
Secure of Miolner, he designs 

Destruction to the giant's power. 
This gives him comfort and delight; 

What glory will to him accrue ! 
How oft during the long, long night, 

He grasps with pride his weapon true 1 



CiIK^(S> M. 



SPBLLS UPON THE HBATH. 



As Thor now sat with watchful ear, 

In pensiveness profound, 
A startling din he chanced to hear, 

Twas like the earthquake's sound. 
All nature shook ; the billows' roar 

By this was deafened quite : 
Thor graspM his hammer, nor forbore 

His belt to fasten tight. 



Now starting up, the Asa spake 

Aloud with accent shrill : 
'^ Who is it dares this noise to make, 

When Hlorrida lies still ? '' 
His choler he could scarce restrain, 

He fain would kill and slay ; 
And much it gave the hero pain 

No foe stood in his way. 



CANTO II. 17 



A comet now with awful sweep 

Shot through the sky blood-red, 
And, stretchM out on the earth asleep, 

A Jotun vast disphyM I 
His snoring made the mountains shake, 

So frightful was the sound ; 
He seem'd as long as the boa snake 

On Java^s swampy ground. 



When Thor's eye to the spot was turned, 

He saw the giant move, 
And on the goblin^s skull he burnM 

His hammer*s strength to prove. 
Of this the giant seem'd aware, 

He started up in haste : 
The sight all mortal eyes would scare, 

Of such dimensions vast. 



He viewM Us foes with isarful scowl, 

He shook his shoulders broad ; 
His vcnoe was like the iee-bear's growl, 

Vex'd by the hunter^s goad ; 
Each of his nerves like brass was strong. 

And hard and tough his skin ; 
He bore a pole of iron long, 

Instead of javelin. 

7 



1» THE QODH or THE NORTH. 

Now Thor to scrulinixe bis fot 

With cautious look began ; 
Then buni be fortb : ^^ Say, who art thou, 

Thou strange, wiid-looking man ?" 
Then be : ^' From Goblin-iaiid (1)1 eome, 

All weapons' force I mook, 
For whosball Skrymnr overeome, 

Who serves great lltgard*!^ f 



«( Thy name 1 ask not, and though now 

I first behold thy iaoe, 
The feaiures of pur bitterest foe 

In thine, methinks, I trace. 
And though the Asar with applause 

Thy merits loud proclaim. 
We giants spurn their boasted Uws, 

And laugh to soom their Came. 



^' The trifling noise my snoring made 

Hath oansed thee nnich alarm; 
With helm and plume upon thy head 

Thou canst not reaoh my arm. 
Upon my pahn Vd hold thee high 

All in thy armour dress'd ; 
Yet of our Jotun raee am I 

The weakest and the least.*' 



CANTO 11. 19 

He gazed aroond on every side, 

His eye-balls fiercely glared : 
'* Where is my glore? (he gruffly cried,) 

To steal it who hath dared? *" 
At length a bonier-laugh ^M and fierce 

Announced the giant^s mirth ; 
He laugh'd to see Thior^s felleiwer» 

From out the hut come forth. 



^The giant now to feel the ground 

StoopM down with knitted brow ; 
He stoopM again, and groped around : 

*' My glove, where ia it now? *' 
His helm's bright hoUBe-hair waved snbNme, 

Like fir-crown'd mountain's top : 
He stoopM once more ; and lo ! this time 

He took the cottage up ! 



Then irst our travellers peroeivM 

By lb' morning dawn finll well. 
That, what a cottage tbey beKev'd, 

Was a vast glove of steel. (2) 
Upon his hand the giant drew 

The glove ; it fitted tight; 
At onoe it 6ird the champions true 

With wonder and affright. 



20 THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 

But Thor exclaimed. : '^ Cheer up, my friends ! 

Believe me I strength or skill 
Never on size alone depends ; 

The wolf an ox can kill. 
For me, with this foul fiend to oope 

Quite resolute I stand : 
Shame were it, should an Asa droop 

WithMi5lnerin his hand/' 



Now this discourse the giant fear*d ; 

He lean*d against his spear. 
'^ What urgeth Thor of Asagard 

To quit his brilliant sphere ? 
What moves the mighty God of war 

To tread this barren strand ? 
Why is he come without his car 

To our dark Goblin-land ?'' 



Then thus replied with accent gmm 

The god to heroes dear : 
'' Enough 1 it pleasM me here to come, 

And, therefore, I am here. 
'Bout Lok thy swarthy king things strange 

I've heard, and now I go 
My thoughts with him to interchange 

In Utgard's realm below. ^ 



CANTO It. 21 



^^ } long to view that Chief of fame, 

And tarry there awhile ; 
For naught i fear his arms of fl^me, 

Nor e^en his magic guile : 
The giants long have leam'd to quake, 

When Asa-Thor drew near.*^ 
Tialfe and Roska, as he spake, 

Now smiled, devoid of fear. 



The giant now with bitter sneer 

Thus boisterously replies : 
^^ 1 warn thee not to persevere 

In this rash enterprize : 
Athwart the iron staves so high , 

That Utgard*s realm surround, 
No Asa with impunity 

His entrance e'er hath found. 



^ *• Restrain thy course, thou Asa pale ! 

Nor seek our realm to view 1 
For there thy strength will naught avail ; 

Thy rashness thou mayst rue : 
As friend, I know, thou comest not. 

But shouldatthou entrance gain, 
Defeat and shame will be thy lot, 

And hope of flight is vain. 



i« THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

'' Go back, 1 sayl onoe more rettiro 

To thy star-lighted dome! 
Midst wiids of bramble, brake and thorn. 

What boots it here to roam? 
A desert drear, where howls the storm ,i 

A sea, where billows roar, 
Between the gods and giants form 

The boundary ever more. 



^' In warlike games and banquets gay 

The Asar pass their time, 
WarmM by the sun^s eternal ray 

In Asagard sublime : 
A royal life of bliss and power 

The Nomor them have given; 
And mortals fervent still adore 

The denizens of heaven. 



'^ But for the swarthy giant brood 

Far different is the lot : 
They wax in strength and hardihood 

r th* mountain's deepest grol. 
Earth's sons to us no ^onour pay ; 

They venture not lo tread 
Those dreary wastes, where we hold sway ; 

They fly from us with dread. 



CANTO ir. n 



Darkness our realm for aye conceals 

From earth's ligbt-favour'd sphere : 
No fires, but what the flint reveals, 

Our gloomy caverns cheer : 
The Asar*s glory 'tis to found 

Creation, order, life : 
But we delight to spread at*ound 

Destruction, ruin, strife." 



Now Thor was stagger'd, and anon 

With Miolner struck his shield. 
'' Thou bRter fiend 1 thou evil One , 

'Gainst sense and feeling steel'd ! 
My hammer cannot here, of course, 

Attain thy lofty brow ; 
But thou shouldst feel my lightning's force, 

Were in Trudvang now. 



^' DoUtgard's champions dare to hold 

To Thor such language proud ? 
Foul pismire thou in earth's black mould ! 

Vile slug with torpid blood! 
Thinkst thou to damp my courage high, 

Because thou tower'st above 
These brambles? I thy arms defy ; 

Thy arts my pity move. 



U THE GODS OP TUB NORTH. 

'^ I tell ye plaiiiy ye. giant brood I 

Were ye in number more 
Than snakes in Nastrond's marshy floods 

Or sands on the sea-shore, 
rd brave ye all; for 9one alive 

Would Thor the combat shun; 
To me wha^ pleasure would it give 

To slay ye every oi^e ! 



* ' Not only valour stout in wai% 

But wit, and skill, and grace 
Our Asar boast; and think ye, Thor. 

Cannot your Lok surpass? 
Your frightful teeth may terrify 

The children of mankind : 
Thorns frown alone would make ye fly. 

Like chaff before the wind. 



\^ Albder hath of old consigned ye. 

To realms of damp and shade; 
In caverns deep, 'tis there we find ye 

In treacherous ambuscade ; 
Night only gives ye courage; then 

Ye quit your lurking place, 
And with huge clubs and frightful din 

The works of man deface. 



CANTO II. th 

*< When the poor traveller seeks his home, 

Ye lead him Car astray; 
With murderers and wolves ye roam, 

And guide <hem to thdr prey : 
Ye feast on human hearts ; their blood 

Ye drink with savage joy ; 
And all that's useful, great, and good, 

Your lust is to destroy. 



' ' But tremble ! think I the day will come., 

When you shall perish all : 
The Nomor have decreed your doom ; 

By our hand shaU ye £Edl : 
Your limbs shall be consumed by fire ; 

The mountains be yotir grave : 
Let no one hope Alfader's ire 

Unpunished long to brave I 



'^ In torrents shall your li(e*s blood flow ; 

The dwarfs, although they be 
Your kinsmen, towards your overthrow 

Shall lend their industry; 
For us the sons of light 'tis they 

That forge the weapons good, 
And those same weapons shall one day 

Be coloured with your blood. 



<• THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 



'' BehoM thk hammer ! from its Mow 

The tide of death bunts forth : 
Twas a dwarfs gift; this girdle too! 

Fve prov'd, methinks, its worth. '' 
Thus said, the hero brandishM hkh 

His Miolner ; at the sight 
The giant oow'ring made reply : 

*' 1 question not thy might : 



*.' Let us be friends, thou Asa good 1 

To Utgard straight Til guide thee; 
And every night with dioicest food 

For supper Til provide thee : 
And Utgard-Lok will much rejoice, 

Such is my fond betief, 
Himself to see and hear the voice 

Of such a glorious chief. *' 



Silent they moved along the strand, 

While Skrymnr marchM before, 
Bearing a wallet in his hand : 

E'en Roska fear'd no more. 
The farther they advanced, the road 

Less difficult became. 
Thorns anger vanished; on they stro4e;^ 

With joy their faces beam. 



CANTO II. ?7 

They croflsM a plain at dose of day ; 

On th* borders of a wood 
Arrived, quoth Skrymur : *' Here we may, 

Methinks, take rest and food. 
Let us this night no further go, 

Repose we all do need : 
And, when at morn the cock's shrill crow 

Awakes us, we'll proceed.'' 



His heavy wallet down he flings, 

Then adds with meaning sly : 
«' Be cautions not to spoil the strings, 

When you this bag untie I 
In it, believe me, thou wilt find 

A supper, better far 
Than what, O Thor, thy consort kind, 

Sif, could herself prepare/' 



And now vinder the green-wood tree 

The giant went to sleep. 
While shelter'd by the forest's lee 

The rest their vigils keep : 
For they would Cain, by hunger press'd, 

Of the good cheer partake 
The bag contain'd ; and oft they blessM 

The donor for its sake. 



SS THB GODS OP THE NORTH. 

At length said Thor : ' 'We must, my friends ! 

Our work with caution ply : 
Since Skrymur caution recommends, 

When we this bag untie. 
Methinks, 'twere better to confide 

To Roska^s hand this toil : 
Her fingers soft will best avoid 

His precious bag to spoil/' 



Now with good will fair Roska took 

The wallet on her knee; 
And while the task she undertook, 

Sat down beneath a tree. 
The wallet to unbind with care 

Much did the damsel strain ; 
The knots so closely twisted were, 

'Twas labour all in vain. 



Then Thor from his moss-cover'd seat 

To Tialfe said : ''Try thoul 
For supperless thou wouldst regret 

To go to sleep, I know. " 
Now with the wallet op his thigh 

Young Tialfe sat him down ; 
But vain his active fingers ply ; 

He gives it up full soon. 



CANTO II. S9 

^' I cannot by soft means/* he cried, 

'' These close-tied knots undo ; 
Force][inust be used. " .** Nay !*' Thor replied, 

'* Ye all have heard my vow 
The Giant's wallet not to spoil ; 

But since our food we need, 
Go, Lok ! try thou the arduous toil ! 

Thou mayst perhaps succeed. 



'^For what to man remains unknown, 

Thou often canst divine ; 
Doubtless, thy hand, Laufeia*s son ! 

Will these hard knots untwine. *' 
Lok took the wallet up, and strove 

Dextrous the knots to loose ; 
But vain his skill and efforts prove 

Against the mystic noose. 



Thor smiled ; he rose, and seized the bag, 

By hunger gaunt impellM ; 
Yet soon his strenuous efforts flag: 

Lo I Thor himself hath {aiPdl 
The God in wrath took up at length 

His sword, the knots to cut ; 
In vain he cut with all his strength ; 

The wallet open'd not. 



U THE OODS Ojr THE NORTM. 

With both his hands in fury now 

He lifts his hammer fell : 
^* The fiend has joggled us, 1 trow. 

With some accursed spelL 
To punish him be mine the task. 

And Miblner will, I trust, 
Athwart the Goblin's bccken casque 

Its shaft with brains incnist." 



With this, upon the giant's head 

He dealt a pondVous blow : 
The giant oped his eyes, and said : 

'* What hath disturbed me so ? 
Upon my cheek hath faU'n some leaf, 

As fast asleep I lay ; 
But Where's my wallet, mighty chief? (3] 

Hast thou untied it, pray ? " ^ 



Now red with anger Thor became : 

'* Thou bitter fiend ! this night 
(He murmnr*d, while his eyes shot flame) 

Shall death thy fraud requite. " 
Once more to sleep the giant rude 

Addressed himself; his snoring 
Deafen'd the monsters of the wood. 

In awful concert roaring. 



CANTO II. 81 

Now Thor, much vexed, a second blow 

With force redoubled gives : 
His eyes roll fearful to and fro : 

" What ? still the Goblin lives?" 
At length with rage and fury spent, 

He throws his Mi61ner down : 
But to the nib the hammer went 

Into the giant's crown. 



The giant woke : his mouth he screwed ; 

*' I now perceive full well, 
While I was sleeping in the wood, 

An acorn on me fell. 
But whereas my wallet ? comrades dear ! 

Have ye the knots untwined ? 
And did ye pot delicious cheer 

In my good wallet find ?" 



The giant turnM again to sleep 

All on the mossy ground ; 
While Thor with thoughts of vengeance deep 

His belt fast round him bound : 
He raised his powerful voice aloud 

To Odin^s throne on high ; 
The very )>easts that haunt the wood 

Were frightened at his cry. 



:i-2 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

His eyes flashM (ire ; a crash was heard I 

He struck with might and main ! 
But lo ! the giant's temples hard 

Unscathed still remain ! 
'' How now? what's this? upon my brow 

A branch hath fall'n, I find : 
But Where's my wallet ? tell me now I 

Have ye the knots untwined ?'* (3} 



Shaking his limbs, the giant vast 

Slow from the grass rose up -, 
The sun» emerging from the east, 

Now gilds the forest's top. 
'' Methinks, " said he, '' O chief divine! 

Our course we should pursue, 
If still it be your firm design 

Great Utgard Lok to view." 



The giant now with shield and spear • 

Moved on, and led the way: 
Close in his wake (he others steer 

Their course, all blithe and gay. 
But lo ! the tall cloud-threatening towerSi 

Though distant, meet their eyes, 
Where dwell the fierce gigantic powers, 

Who gods and men despise I 



CANTO If. as 



*Tis U^ard I rocks piled i]f>on rocks 

Compose its ramparts vast ! 
And see what massive bolts and locks 

Its portals fauge make fast ! 
Enormous bars of iron, long 

As mast of admiral, 
Form palisades with sharpened prong. 

Which stoutest hearts appaL 



*^ Behold our city 1" Skrymur cried, 

'^ Its towers impregnable ! 
Its stony bastions stretching wide ! 

Its palisades of steel I 
Yet fear thou naught I accept this pike! 

Thou needst but once the gate 
With its enchanted point to strike, 

And lo ! 'twill open strait. 



* * And now farewell 1 I must begone, 

And leave ye here behind : 
To guide ye safe to Lok's proud throne 

Giants enow yeMI find : 
Take heart! with a firm step advance! 

Valour ye do not lack ; 
With such a hammer, sword and lance, 

Ye need fear no attack." 

8 



34 THE OOOS OP THE NORTH. 

Thus said, he graspM his wallet Cut, 

And bound it to his spear ; 
Then strode on to the mountains vast, 

Which towards the north (4) appear, 
And soon he vanish'd from their view 

The winding rocks among ; 
While Thor ^th his companions true 

'Gainst Utgard march'd along. 



CtSK®® HI. 



THOH IN HBLHHDI. 



The slory you're about to hear 

May well incredible appear : 

To visit the remotest end 

Of Utgard's realm the chieb pretend : 

Not easy will this project prove 

Through wastes of endless frost and snow ; 
At each third step they onward move ' 

t 



O'er the glazed frost, they fall bad( two. 



The road, oo viatb their course they bent, 
Now fonn'd a deep and dark descent : 
They grope along through ice aild snow, 
And though pitch dark, they hear oocks crow. 
Thor ever foremost marches on ; 

The others follow the ^nt light 
That irom his brazen armour shone, 

And shudder ofl from cold and fright. 



36 THE OOD8 OF THE NORTH. 

Through caverns drear they move on slow, 
Which seem to lengthen as they go ; 
Pale shadows flit along ; they hear 
The rustling sound of waters near : 
Now toads croak harsh, and owlets screech ; 

Now fogs arise, and vapours damp ; 
But Thor, intent his goal to reach, 

Struggles across the frozen swamp. 



At length the gloomy fogs of night 
Became dispellM by sudden light ; 
Though faint, it faiPd not to impart 
Fresh vigour to the Asa's heart. 
Two torches burning blue anon 

A lurid flickering gleam display -, 
While through the cloven rock the moon 

Sends forth a pale and wizard ray. 



At length a massive gate they reach : 
Two grisly fantoms there kept watch : 
One i^emM a female, one a male ; 
Their furrowed cheeks were deadly pale. 
Lo Islowly rising from their seat, 

They fix the chiefs with earnest gaze ; 
These halt before the ponderous gate. 

And view those forms in mute amaze. 



In shrouds of white the spectres grim, 
While ague shakes each gelid limb, 
Brandish aloft with angt7 groan 
Their javelins Ibrm'd of human bone. 
As Thor advancM, tbdr shields they clash, 

And croak aloud these words of fear : 
" Go hack 1 go back I ye strangers rash 1 

Whence do ye come I what se^ ye here ? 



" Why seek ye in (be pride and Uoom 

Of health and youth these realms of gk)om ? 

Never did sudi a troop before 

find entrance to this iated shore. 

For (hose who meanly die oil straw, 

The Nornor have these shades decreed ; 
But not for those, who Odin's law 

BM sacred, and in battle bleed. 



"Ye may not tread this threshold fell, 
Bound fast by adamantine spell : 
*Tis here a pale-blue female reigns, 
Here stern her fearful ]ayr maintains : 
Here captive holds the dastard crew. 

Who on the bed of sickness die. 
Who wounds and glorious death eschew, 

And basely from the combat fly." 



38 THB O0D8 OF THE NORTH. 

Then Thor : ''We've reachM th' abode, I ween, 
. Of Hela, unforgiving queen ; 
O Lokl we now shall soon behold 
Thy pale-blue daughter stem and cold." 
Then Lok grew pale, and trembling said : 

' * Let us return ! I bitter rue 
My grievous fault : O t how I dread 
My frightful oflbpring's face to view I*' 



Then Thor replied with look severe : 
'' A God should never yield to fear ; 
Shame I resolution thus to lack ! 
Rouse all thy nerve, and shrink not back I 
A giantess (1) thy heart subdued, 

And thou to passion didst succumb. 
Too well I know, that nothing good 

Can firom the blood of giants come. 



'' 'Twas Skulda in her book of fate) 
Did this event predestinate ; 
If she decreed thy amorous flame. 
Who shall that prudent Norna blame ? 
Thy offspring causes fear, His true, 

But never can contempt excite -, 
Not only men, but Asar too, 

All view her features with affright. 



CANTO III. '*^ 

'^ Where joy and pleasure flourish most 
And nursM by strength their empire boast, 
Yet still, at the bare sight of fear 
Those blessings straight will disappear; 
Thus Fenris can embitter all 

The glories of Valhalla's feast ; 
His very look hath power t'appal, 

And freeze with dread great Odin's breast. 



^* And say I how should our Asgard then 

Differ from the abode of men, 

Did not death, misery and disgrace 

A line of demarcation trace f 

Like Midgard's snake, (2) misfortune fell 

Winds round, and gnaws the heart of earth ; 
And he too, Lok, thou know'st full well. 

From thy embrace derived his birth. 



^' Yet, O thou Asa dear 1 'tis well 
Thou hast engendered the grim Hel I 
Due honour she should ever find ; 
She punishes the Nidding kind. 
She my avenger is ; 'tis she 

Who best upholds my law and right ; 
Take courage, therefore I leam from me 

Never to think of craven flight I" 



49 THE QOI>S OP THE NORTH. 

This sage discourse now caused the fear 
Of Asa Lok to disappear ; 
To him much consolation gave 
The prudence of his comrade brave. 
Thor rab'd his lance ; the portal vast 

He struck with force ; it swung around. 
Like leaf before th' autumnal blast ; 

The hinges creakM with jarring sound. 



Now Thor his champions onward led. 
The vault re-echo'd with their tread ; 
Now little Roska 'gan to cower, 
And closely graspM the hand of Thor. 
Through many a winding galFry past, 

They stumble on, or creep, or glide, 
Until a flickering flame at last 

Serves thrir ambiguous path to guide. 



At length an opening towards the north 
They find, and 'gainst it struggle forth ; 
To where the roof describes an arch, 
And forms a vestibule, they march ; 
This vestibule to a vast hall 

Conducts them, where they now behold 
The wretches deaf to honour's call, 

Whom Helheim's bars imprisonM hold. 



CANTO III. 41 

Along the wall pale phantoms fl it, 

Who groan and shake with aguish fit I 

Palsies, catarrhs, and fevers grim 

Prey on each agonizing limb. 

When Thor advanced, they wept and whined; 

Down their wan cheek a cold sweat flows I 
While slimy snakes, around them twined. 

Cause by their bite convulsive throes ! 



Under the vaulted roof, behold ! 
A throne appears, but not of gold. 
Silver, or ivory ; this throne 
Was built of human sculls alone ! 
Thereon sat Hela, fell to view ; 
Her skin a chalky hue reveal'd, 
Down from the girdle ; livid blue 
Above it seem'd from blood congeaFd I 



A man's thigh-bone in moonshine bleached 
T' enforce new torments she outstretched, 
For never her vindictive mind 
Allows to rest the Nidding kind : 
This bone exhaPd a corpse-like smell ; 

On high she waved it like a wand ; 
It made all crouch ; it serv'd full well 

As sceptre in her clammy hand. 



42 THE GODS OP THB NORTH. 

No sound, but moans to make flesh creep, 
Here interrupts the silence deep ; 
No zephyrs thaw the frost severe ; (3) 
CadavVous odours taint the air ; 
Three torches blue illumM the scene I 

By each a ghastly spectre stood ! 
Shapes frightfully diseased were seen, 

But on their limbs no trace of blood I 



Now Thor began to smile ; exempt 
From fear himself, he with contempt 
The crowd of trembling ghosts beheld, 
And loud thb stem discourse he held : 
^* wretched fools 1 why did ye shun 

The dangers of all-glorious war ^ 
Thus may it iare with every one 

Who dares not follow Asa-Thor ! 



' ' Ye miserable, who eschew'd 
Danger and death and scenes of blood ! 
Weaker than women 1 Hela now 
Grinds ye with never-ending woe ; 
Ye fear'd to don the warrior's helm, 

And trembled at the bowstring's twang ; 
Well, now, in Hers accursed reabn, 

Ye tremble with eternal pang I '' 



CANTO lir. 43 

Thus Thor : the ghosts respond with moan : 
The chief advancM to Hela's throne, 
And though thick fogs his uttVance choke, 
He still, though hoarse, thus suppliant spoke : 
" Hela, terrific queen ! whose eye 

Fills every living breast with fear, 
Ah I not spontaneously do I 

Before thy awfal throne appear. 



i 

'^ I cannot the desire withstand 

To visit Lok of Utgard's land ; 

I long that chieftain to behold, 

And therefore here have travelled bold. 

Then, 1 resolve me, Hela true. 

For well thou know'st each distant clime, 
Where must I turn ? what course pursue, 

To reach the realm of JotunheimP" 



Then Hela croak'd out thus with force, 
From throat with fogs and vapour hoarse : 
*' Begone from hence ! depart I away ! 
Ye'll soon arrive where giants sway; 
The rosy hues that stain your cheek 

My eye-balls sear to look upon ; 
Of health, and youth, and strength they speak ; 

Such sights I loathe : avaunt ! begone I *' 



44 THE QODS OF THE NORTH. 

ff 

Now Thor a sign impatient made 
Behind him, which his troop obey'd. 
Lok ventiirM not to raise his eye, 
As he stem Hela's throne past by ; 
He closed his eyes her sight to shun, 

And stumbled heavily along : 
She lookM at him and breathM a groan. 

Which echoed far the rocks among. 



I will not hide the fact that Thor, 
However firm and brave in war, 
SeemM anxious much and was not slow 
To quit those gloomy realms of woe. 
They march into the mountain's core, 

And issuing from the farthest rock. 
They soon arrive, and stand before 

The palace vast of Utgard-Lok. 



CiIK®# WW. 



THOR ARRITBS AT UTGARD. 



Whbn Utgard now before him lay, 
The chief seem'd well content : 

Its site hemm'd in by mountains grey, 
Its towers, its vast extent 

Excite bis wonder : at the gate 

« 

A chosen band of warriors sat, 
All clad in armour shining, 
With cheek on hand reclining. 



Down from the walls they cast a look, 
And at his hammer sneer : 

The shield of each was granite rock, 
A huge pine trunk each spear I 

But while on Thor they look askance, 

And view him closer still advance, 
They shout, his efforts braving. 
On high their lances waving. 



46 THE OODS OP THE NORTH. 

And now to giant Skrymur*s wand 
Thor needs must have recourse ; 

He snatches it from Tialfe's hand, 
And strikes the gate with force. 

The bars and bolts receded straight, 

And open flew the massive gate, 
On creaking hinges wheeling, 
A wondrous scene revealing ! 



Young Roska now was like to swoon, 
When viewing with dismay 

Abodes, where clifb in arches hewn 
Exclude the light of day. 

And strange to all appears the sight 

Of walls of alabaster bright 
In Utgard-Lok's vast dwdling. 
The giant fire-oompelling. 



No solar beam hath ever shone 
Within this mamuon wide, 

Where seated on his marble throne 
Reigns Utgard«-Lok in pride. 

Around their sovereign scornful stand 

In triple rank a numerous band ; 
Cuirasses bright of iron 
Their bodies stout environ. 



CANTO IV. 4 7 



When Utgard's haughty chief beheld 
The glance of Thor severe, 

His quiv'ring lip too plain reveaFd 
Signs ill-suppressM of fear. 

His muscles were of marble grey, 

Nor sense nor feeling they betray ; 
With eyes like rubies glaring, 
On Thor he fixM them staring. 



Still fogs and darkness reign*d : anon 

Lok utter'd accents strange ; 
A blow his brazen shield upon 

Now caused the scene to change. 
Then flames burst from the vaulted dome, 
And play'd around the spadous room, 

A varied light displaying, 

O'er gold and silver straying ! 



In motion seem'd the arches all ; 

Then Lok : '' That trembling roof 
Behold I twill crush ye, should it Call ; 

'Twere best ye keep aloof. " 
Struck with these words Thor rais'd his eyes, 
And view'd above him with surprize 

A moving rock appalling, 

Which threatened instant falling. 



50 THE (;ODS OF THE NORTH. 

*^ Against the frost i* th' vast abyss 
Winds from the south now came ; 

They mix'd ; then matter droppM, and ihis 
One solid heap became : 

Now cold 'gainst fire, and fire Against cold 

Long struggled hard the palm to hold ; 
But fire remainM victorious : 
Thence Ymer sprang the glorious ! 



'* Him we acknowledge as the sire 

Of our gigantic brood : 
E'en ye our towering size admire, 

With strength immense endowed. 
At that time thy earth-shaking car 
Did not exist, presnmptuous Thorl 

'' Let me, quoth Thor, this history 

Expound and all its mystery 1 



'' The wond'rous facts 1 now relate, 

Than I none better knows : 
Alfader gave the word ; and strait 

The cow AudumbU rose ! 
She lick*d the frost from the hard mass ; 
Thence sprang the noble Asar race 

From solid strength descended, 

With warm blood ever blended. 



CANTO iV. 51 

*>^ With matter cold mix'd genial flame ; 

Then Bure sprang to life; 
After him Bor ; a giant dame (2) 

He carried off as wife : 
This pair combined in high degree 
Strength, beauty, grace, and symmetry ; 

His birth from their embraces 

Each Asa proudly traces ; 



^' The Alfs and Vaner too : in fine 

Whatever in Heimkringlas 
Is found most precious, rare, and fine, 

Was joinM to build our race. 
The finest oaks must flourish tall, 
Be fellM, and cut in fi^gots small, 

When fuel we require 

To feed the nuptial pyre. 



^* Therefore, that first ye saw the light, 

Ye giants proud ! 'tis true ; 
Yet Bor, oi)r ancestor, in fight 

Your hero did subdue : 
Ymer could not the force withstand 
Of Bor; he perishM by his hand ; 

That giant so presuming 

In his own blood lay fuming. 



52 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

^' Then down into the deep abyss 

Bor Ymer's body cast ; 
This formM the Earth's vast edifice ; 

His blood the Ocean vast; 
The mountains from his bones arise ; 
His brains compose the cloudy skies, 

And still continue dreaming, 

With constant changes teeming. 



' ' Then all around and up and down 
The eye-brows Ihidc he spread, 

And lo! from these the lofty town 
Of Midgard lifts its head ! 

The scull was next spread out, and bent 

To build the heavenly firmament, 
Which Freya tinged with azure, 
The iav'rite hue of pleasure. 



^^ Now Bor in haste from Muspelbeim 
Took many sparks, and threw them 

High ^midst the firmament sublime. 
And there ye still may view them : 

There still they glow with brilliant light ; 

There still, as they revolve, exdte, 
Above their heads and under 
Their feet, the Asar's wonder. 



CANTO IV. 53 

^* Now Bor and Bure fell'd two trees , 

Which grew by the sea-shore ; 
A man and woman's form to these 

Was given by mystic lore : 
From the strong oak the man was made ; 
The fragrant rose produced the maid, 

In grace and beauty shining, 

All hearts to love inclining } 



'^ Askur and Embla hight : and lo I 

Bure this couple led 
To Midgard's oily : from those two 

The human race proceed : 
There still they dwell and multiply, 
And render to the Asar high 

Their constant adoration, 

With many a rich oblatimi. 



*' Full well can I this hist'ry trace. 

And every fact relate. 
What time befel the giant race 

Destruction and defeat : 
Bergelmer only and his wife, 
Saved on a wreck, escaped with life : 

From them thy giant nation 

Derives its generation. 



*8 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

*' I find my appetite increase 
By what I have endured of late ; 

By plenteous cheer 'twere not amiss, 
Hethinks, my strength to renovate : 

Good trencher-men in troth we are, 
Of limbs robust and stomachs able : ' 

■ 

Go, therefore I bid the code prepare. 
And set the viands on the table !'' 



'^ To what best suits thee I accede," 
Still jesting, Utgard-Lok replies ; 



^^ There can be nothing worse, indeed. 
Than hungry from the board to rise : 

Yet, my good friend I thoult soon perceive, 
However strong thy stomach be, 

In eating thou canst naught achieve 
'Gainst one of my good company. '' 



This speech annoy'd Laufeia*s son ; 

He jump'd up hastily, and said : 
** Thou whoreson fiend ! thou evil one 1 

Think'st thou my purpose to dissuade ?*' 
The swarthy chief made no reply, 

But caird to one amidst his crew: 
^' Come forth !'* and lo ! with fearful cry 

Starts forth a goblin (1) fell to view I 



CANTO V. 59 

Obedient to his master's call, 

Who now his zeal and service claims, 
He stalks across the qpadous hall, 

In armour cover'd o*er with flames : 
The most were yellow; some were red; 

Some blue ; anon with scornful look 
Towering above his rival's head, 

He cast his eyes on Asa-Lok. 



His widely gaping mouth reveals 

A double row of grinders long ; 
At every finger, *stead of nails, 

Were likewise teeth both sharp and strong : 
And strange to tell, each tooth displays 

On mouth or hand a powerful light. 
Young Roska viewed them with amaze. 

And shrunk back trembling with affright. 



The shadows that obscui^ed the rock 

All vauishM at the goblin's sight. 
<M do percmve,'* said Asa-Lok, 

*< Each of thy limbs hath power to bite : 
Yet trust me I though thou hast the power 

Each finger to employ as tooth, 
ThouMt not be able to devour 

More food than Loptur with his mouth." 



60 THB OODS OP THB NORTH. 

Into the hall by Ldc's command 

A dish wag brought of purest ore ; 
'Twas vast in sixe, and it eontun'd 

Of joints of meat an ample store. 
The ugly fiend and Asa-Lok 

Set to and cranehed "with all their might ; 
They eat, as though they both would choke 

This caused much wonder and delight. 



Each sat at one end of the dish, 

But in the middle soon they meet : 
Lok from the bones had clearM the fleidi ; 

At length he could no longer eat. 
Not so the goblin ; he devoured 

The hard bones, golden dish, and all : 
He rolPd his eyes around the board, 

And for more viands lain would call. 



Now loudly laugh'd the giant crew ; 

E^en Thor the serious lau^'d outright 
Young Tialfe grinn'd, and Roska too 

Was much diverted at the sight. 
The guests now sitting round the board, 

As arbiters pronounce the doom; 
They loud proclaim with one accord, 

That Asa-Lok was overcome. 



CANTO V. 61 

Then Utgard-Lok in jesting mood 

Gall'd out to Tialfe by his name : 
"• Since we are cloyM with drink and food, 

Let us arrange some other game! 
We practise here, the time to kill, 

Jokes and diversions not a few : 
Go thou, brave youth 1 and try thy skill 1 

1 fain would see what thou canst do." 



<* What callst thou trying? do not boast 

Too muchl" the ardent Tialf replied : 
^ ' Though Asa-Lok the prize have lost, 

That cannot, sure, our worth decide. 
He gave me armour *, and ye' 11 find, 

Though ye can bones and dish devour 
Like dogs, that with undaunted mind 

1 brave, and hope to quell your power/' 



I'hen Utgard's Chief with knitted brow 

Rejoined : * * Twere bootless to contend 
On what is past and gone : do thou 

Propose some game, my youthful friend ! '' 
Good 1 answer'd Tialfe : «' Be it so T* 

And strait his qorslet 'gan t' unlace. 
^^ An ye consent, I'm ready now 

With any of your train to race.'' 



62 THE 60D8 OF THE NORTH. 

Then thus the swarthy chief: '* *Tis well ; 

And such a sport, methinks, is meet : 
For when our arms in vigour fail, 

We find our safety in our feet. 
Come then ! begin I trace out the course ! 

Yet I suspect, thouUt soon succumb, 
However great in speed thy force. 

When racing with my little Thumb." (2) 



Now Tialfe's limbs with anger shook, 

He threw around a scornful glance; 
And view'd forth crawling from a nook 

A strange and dwarfish elf advance! 
Though little strength he seemM to boast, 

Yet supple as a bow was he : 
A veil enveloping his bust 

His features none allowed to see. 



^< I see his body swells or shrinks," 

Quoth Tialf, *^ at pleasure 'fore the wind; 
In elasticity, methinks, 

He leaves all creatures far behind. 
Come, little hero! come along, 

And let us strait begin our course ! 
Much need we, when the race is long, ] 

Not merely suppleness, but force. " 



CANTO V. 63 

The signal given, offtbey set! 

The rocks re-echo with the sound! 
The dwarf first reach'd the goal, and met 

Full butt his rival, turning round. 
Tialf bit bis lips, and scarce suppress M 

His anger; panting thus he spake: 
'*'Tis not enough our speed to test ; 

Let us another trial make t " 



Now offthey start again: and though 

With all his might young Tialfe raced, 
Swifter than dart from archer's bow 

The supple dwarf the goal embraced. 
He halted, while his rival still 

Distant a half bow-shot was seen ; 
Thus easy baffling Tialfe's skill, 

He chuckled in his sleeve, I ween. 



One trial more the chie£s ordained ; 

The dwarf the gage rejected not ; 
He flew, and quick the goal attain'd. 

And strait returning, reach'd the spot 
From which they started, long before 

Tialfe himself could reach the goal. 
The youth sank breathldss on the floor, 

With jaded limbs and anguish'd soul. 



d1 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

That Tialf was vanquish'd all agreed : 

Like wind the dwarf now vanished fleet. 
Then Utgard's chief to Aukthor said : 

* ^ Now try thyself some dextrous feat! 
Thy champions hitherto have shown 

But little skill and little power ; 
But thou perhaps, and thou alone, 

Mayst all our efforts overpower." 



Thor drily then : ''It may be so; 

I seek not our defeat to skreen : 
In eating, certes, 1 allow, 

That Asa-Lok hadii vanquished been. 
But that which most is thouj^t in me 

Surprising, is my power of drink : 
Bring me a drinking horn 1 ye'U see, 

From no competitor I shrink. " 



The chief gives signal ; quick as thought 

Into the spadons hall is borne, 
Of curious yellow metal wrought, 

And carved with runes, a drinking horn. 
Its point extreme, so vast its length. 

Afar without the cavern lies: 
E'en Thor, though conscious of his strength, 

Was staggered at its awful sixe. 



CANTO V. «S 

With anxious eye and strict attention 

See Tbor this vessel contemplate i 
It seems in truth of vast dimension, 

Yet for his stomach not too great. 
Then Utgard's chief. ' ' Well mayst thou doubt, 

If thou hast power that horn to drain : 
He who can see its measure out, 

Gertes, will not of thirst complain. 



^ ' But when through guile or negligence 

A giant hath our laws profaned. 
To empty that whole hom*s contents 

Is oft the punishment ordained. 
One draught the horn can seldom drain, 

In two the feat we sometimes see ; 
But there is none among my train 

Who cannot empty it in three. " 



To him thus Asa-Lok replied : 

'* 'Mongst all the chiefis in Odin's realm, 
If my experience nuiy decide, 

In drinking Thor bears off the palm. 
Whene'er he calls aloud for drink, 

And graps the horn with nervous arm, 
The Asar back with terror shrink, 

And Valhall trembles with alarm. 

10 



06 THB OODS OF THE NORTH. 

^ ' For him Iduna's tender care 

Provides the luscious apple-\nne ; 
And scarcely more delicious are 

The kisses from her lips divine : 
In drinking, as in fighting great, 

One single draught doth Thor suffice 
The largest horn to empty strait ; 

And none with him dispute the prize. 



'^ A well known bet I now declare ; 

As'-Odin every morning hies 
To Mimer's sacred fountain, where 

He courteous for a drink applies : 
Then Mimer from those bounteous rills 

A beaker, of dimensions vast 
In depth and breath, with water fills ; 

That water boasts of wine the taste. 



' *• Odin once Valasldalf forsook ; 

To travel far it seemM him fit : 
While absent, Thor that beaker took, 

And at one draught he emptied it : 
Since then, the mighty warrior's fame 

Resounds from every Asa's mouth. 
And Asgard's chronicles proclaim 

The feat. I tell ye naught but truth. 



CANTO V. (J7 

When Odin learn'd this act of Thor, 

Thus burst he forth in angry tone : 
'^ Ha ! what presumption ! thou art far 

Too daring and too rash, my son I 
That fountain fresh \(rith wisdom glows ; 

Thor drank and straight did wit obtain : 
How canst thou, then, our chief suppose 

Incompetent thy horn to drain?*' 



Then answered Utgard's prince : ^' Who knows ? 

In Odin's hall perhaps they feel 
Less thirst than here." Then Thor arose. 

And with that arm, whose nerves are steel, 
The horn he lifted from the ground ; 

Nor difficnlt this eflort seem'd : 
This movement caused an echoing sovnd, 

And was alone a marvel deem'd. 



/ ^ Ctf drinkers we will bail thee first, 

If in that horn thdu naught dost leave ; 
And certainly thy tongue with thirst 

Unto Ihy palate will not deave." 
Thus sneetring said the fiend : awhile 

The Asa stood immers'd in thought : 
Then grasp'd the hovn with sudden smile, 

And took one long and pow'rful draught. 



6B THB OODa OF THE NORTH. 

E'en as the sandy wilderness 

Drinks in th' impetuous floods of rain, 
That pour down from the heavenly space, 

Thus Aukthor drank, and drank amain : 
He stoppM, and with complacent look 

Beg^ the vessel to explore ; 
Yet spite of the long draught he took, 

It seem'd as full as 'twas before. 



But Thor's high courage never fails; 

He leans upon his hammer bright : 
Again the beaker he assails, 

And quafis with all his soul and might. 
In fiirrows deep his forehead rolls ; 

His veins swell at the effort rude : 
He drank, as do the clefts and holes 

Of the ravine drink in the flood. 



Once more the chief reviewed the horn ; 

Full, as before, the horn remains : 
How deep did then our hero mourn 

His baffled strength and bootless pains I 
Well might this horn with wonder fill 

Those, who knew not its mystery ; 
For, spite of all he swallowM, still 

The smallest space was not left dry. 



CANTO V. 60 

Again the god his mouth applies 

Th' UDfatbomable horn to drain : 
He drank, e^en as the deep abyss 

Drank in the blood of Ymer slain : 
The giants who this feat beheld 

All with astonishment turnM pale, 
But prudently their fear conce^rd : 

Yet e*en this draught did nought avail. 



When Asa Thor at length perceived, 

How fruitless all his efforts were 
To drain the horn, he inward grieved, 

And thus he spoke : '' I must declare, 
Ye chiefs of Jotunheim are first 

In power of swallowing drink, as well 
As flesh ; for such unnatural thirst 

We sons of Asgard never feel. 



'' The bowl we Asar do not drain 

The feverish heat of thirst to quell ; 
We feel it not ; 'tis strength to gain, 

That we imbibe our hydromel. 
How joyous at the board we meet I 

What lovely maids our drink prepare ! 
'Tis far less waterM, and more sweet 

Than your insipid beverage here.'' 



'it THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

With freshest rose-leaves filPd, the bed 

Was wrought of massive golden ore ; 
But though so heavily it weighM, 

With ease he raised it from the floor; 
Then to his castle, Tnidvang hight, 

Triumphant bore it through the air ; 
So noiseless was the Asa's flight, 

He naught disturbed the sleeping fiur. 



The goddess bright with roses crowned 

Awoke at midnight's solemn hour, 
And much did it the fair astound, 

To find herself in Aukthor's bower : 
Himself was kneeling by her side ; 

Till roused from her surprize at length 
She rose in all her beauty's pride, 

And trembled at the hero's strength. (3) 



Since charged with load of such vast weighty 

He bird-like cleaved the liquid air, 
Dost thou suppose thy frightful cat 

Too heavy for his arm to bear ? 
Two sable cats draw Freya's car, 

And what they draw, he raised alone : 
Than both his strength was greater far; 

Think ye, he cannot lift up one P" 



CANTO V. 7S 



The prince of Utgard smiled : '* Take care I 

Quoth he : ^* be not too sure of that 1 
For I suspect, that Freya's car 

Is far less heavy than my cat/' 
Now Thor prepared in Utgard's hall 

His strength to prove with eager zest ; 
But silence he implored from all, 

And all complied with his request. 



i> 



Fixing the cat with watchful eye, 

Thor *neath its belly threw his arm ; 
It claw'd and spat most frightfully, 

And whined with fury and alarm. 
Twas vain with this vile beast to cope, 

And Thor soon found his efforts weak ; 
The more he strove to lift it up, 

The higher still became its back. 



On high, as far as arm could reach, 

He raised the creature towards the roof; 
But higher still the cat could stretch 

Its strange elastic form at proof: 
So hard the struggle, e'en the soul 

Of mighty Thor felt some dismay : 
Mow through the roof be breaks a hoICi 

And fain towards heaven would lift his prey. 



74 • THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 

But spile of all his efforts, he 

Could raise but one leg from the hearth ; 
Tenacious clung the other three, 

As if fast rooted, to the earth. 
At length exhausted he became, 

And down he let the creature fall ; 
And though he strove to hide his shame, 

'Twas clearly visible to all. 



The cat was then removed. The fiend 

With look demure and wily sueer 
Then said to Tialfe's lord : '< My friend ! 

Thus goes it with our pastimes here. 
Like all things else in our domain. 

That cat can wondVous strength deploy ; 
£'en Thor, great Odin's son, 'tis plain, 

Cannot in strength with giants vie.'' 



To him thus sharp the god of war, 

For much those words his spirit grate : 
'* Now by my hammer and my car, 

Talking and boasting much 1 hate ; 
But since with sneer and bantering 

The force of Thor Ihou seemst to doubt. 
Come forth thyself, swarthy king I 

And try with me a wrestling bout I" 



CANTO V. 75 

« 

With soften^ voice the chief rejoin'd, 

For now fear made him lower his crest : 
" Nay I why so hasty ? bear in mind, 

That all things here are done in jest I 
No malice here disturbs our sport ; 

But since a wrestling match you chuse, 
Fve an old woman in my court. 

To cope with Thor shell not refuse. " 



To him Laufeia*s crafty son : 

*' She comes not for our chief too late ; 
She'll rue the sport ; his grasp alone 

Has power her limbs to dislocate : 
In ancient runes hath she not read, 

Hoiy on the giant's isle of rock, 
*Midst a vast female troop he sped, 

And made them feel his hammer's shock ? 



'^ 'Twas sport to see him deal such blows 

On those fierce virgins ; none unscathed 
Escaped ; though numberless his foes, 

'Midst flames his look defiance breathed : 
To drown him one the thought conceived, 

And urged him to the ocean*s brink ; 
But such a blow her scull received, 

She ne'er again had power to think. (5) " 



THE ♦;ODe* oP THE >4>ft.TfcL 

'^ It u Aoe fie, " ih^ \aA iaati, 

" That thoa :ihoul(i^ e«>pe with ne ^tore 
TluHfc k£»t a enp of jaice csaa^M, 

H hoae fruit snnyw* ia V^baiU*:» hover." 
^w from a hole wiiJuA hi» shJefai 

He took a fruit of lucicious UeHe: .6 
With evxirteo<i2» look aiwi accent mil«i 

To taiile ft modi the: dame he ^esst. 



'- Eat this! m? Teaerable danie ! 

Thy ilays of yooth 'twill stnugbt restore ; 
Tka§ fruit frooi Braj^r^s S^v^cs came ; 

Mona ^nards the laered store : 
^Twifl make thj ▼eins beat higii with youth : 

'Twill fill with eloqiieBee thy tOD^ne." 
Thea thus the dame: *H'b oM. m troth. 

Yet I refBaia forever young. 



^' All things do i devour, yet naught 

Consume ; as for thy fruit divine, 
keep it thyself I I need it not ! 

But come ! let us the sport begin !"' 
Thus said, her arras around her foe 

She east with wondrous force and glee ; 
Thor, strugghng hard the crone to throw. 

At length fell breathlc^ on hii» knee« 



CANTO V. 79 



His comrades trembled, sore 

To view their chiefiain^s sad misehanoe : 
Now Thor to them a signal made 

To succour him with sword and lance. 
Then turning round in wrath extreme, 

To Utgard-Lok he fiercely cries : 
'' Let me this instant quit (hy realm, 

Where frantic witchcraft gains the prize ! 



'* I cannot bear such magic spells, 

Such visions strange : Odin alone, 
My sire, who in Valhalla dwells. 

Can from such mischief shield his son : 
Unknown to bim Tve travellM here ; 

Ah me I I do repent me now I 
Deceit, misfortune, checks severe 

Are all that I have proved below. 



*' But when we next renew the fight, 

Naught shall thy spells thy person shield : 
Odin can magic runes indite, 

As Thor knows how his mace to wield : 
Allied we shall one day descend 

From thy vile yoke the world to free, 
And Utgard-Lok, arch-traitrous fiend, 

In his own realm shall vanquishM be/' 



«0 THB OODS OF THE NORTH. 

Indignant then be faced about, 

Wbile shame and anger tinged bis cheek; 
The chief of Utgard led him out, 

With mind perplex'd and gesture meek : 
The mountain deeply sighed and moumM; 

Down rushM its silv'ry blood amain; 
The gate slow on its binges tum*d, 

And Thor once more bestrode the plain. 



CglK®® 'FI. 



THE SPELLS UNRAVELLED. 



When now from subterranean gloom 

Emerged, again the herp stood 
Amidst the plain where flow'rets bloom, 

With joy the azure sky he viewM : 
His hammer shed around a li^t ; 

His armour seem*d on fire : 
He feels once more his wonted might 

Through all his veins transpire. 



He waved his hammer. Utgard's lord 
At once in him could recognize 

The god by Jotunheim abhorred, 

The god, whose thunders shake the skies : 

His hair now stood upright with fear, 
His heart began to beat, 

For though in Utgard*s nether sphere 

The chief had met defeat, 

11 



H2 THB GODS OF THE NORTH. 



He fear*d, that when the bright domain 

Of Asgard Thor again should reach, 
Odin would all the spells explain, 

And surest means of vengeance teach. 
'' That fatal consequence to thwart 

I must some scheme devise : 
Were it not best myself t* impart 

To Thor those mysteries, 



And frankly thus at once reveal 

How all things happenM there below ? 
The key to each enchanted spell 

Twere better he from us should know, 
Than learn it elsewhere ; this would move 

Still more the Asar's wrath, 
And hard would then the contest prove 

'Gainst Thor and Odin both. 



Thus to himself thought Utgard Lok : 

Then full of cunning and deceit 
To Thor he thus embarrassM spoke : 

'' Tis well for us, thou bast thought fit 
To leave our kingdom : thou sfaalt ne'er 

With my consent return ; 
Much from thy visit did I fear. 

We might have cause to mourn. 



CANTO VI. 88 

^' But DOW thai for our giant race 

All danger's past, will I relate 
Frankly, bow all things came to pass : 

And here, O chief! thy prowess great 
We all confess, and all admire ; 

Thy sword and hammer bright 
All foes with terror must inspire. 

When thou appearst in sight. 



^' i learnM with much astonishment 

And no small dread, chief! that thou 
Hadst formM a project of descent 

From Valaidualf to earth below. 
But when thy further views I leara'd 

To visit Utgard*s realm, 
Methought, O chief! thy brain wasturn'd 

To harbour such a scheme. 



^^ Doubtless, I did not dare offend 

A god as frank as he is strong; 
i only sought my realm to fend 

By wizard spell and mystic song : ' 
The winds and waves in wild commotion 

1 urged from pole to pole ; 
But neither winds nor waves of Ocean 

Have power to daunt^by soul. 



S4 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

^* 1 Straight assumed a shape, of more 

Than human size or human strength ; 
Upon the ground I 'gan to snore, 

With all my limbs stretched out at length 
1 thought to fright thee from the heath, 

And check thy bold advance ; 
But vain my threatening size and teeth 

Against thy sword and lance. 



^^ i trembled for thy hammer^ too 

Forged in the gloomy dwarfs* abode ; 
He whom that strikes, full well i know, 

is forthwith deluged in his blood. 
By strange illusions I inclined 

To give thy nerves a shock ; 
But it ne*er enterM in my mind 

So brave a chief to mock. 



'' What i bad plann'd, 1 did fulfil 

Forthwith ; but thou wert naught afeard : 
Naught didst thou else, but closer still 

Thy belt around thy body gird : 
But I acknowledge, when 1 viewed 

Thy footsteps turn my way, 
A cold sweat all my limbs bedew'd. 

As on the gras% 1 lay. 



CANTO VI. S& 

'' Thy eyes were thus deceived : the blow 

That first thy hammer gave my head, 
Though not thy heaviest, would, I trow. 

If felt, have my quietus made : 
When 1 beheld thee raise thy arm, 

My limbs with terror shook, 
I conjured by a powerful charm 

Thy blow against that rock." 



At this discourse Thor stood aghast, 

Then hied the rock to scrutinize ; 
He there beheld three caverns vast 

Hewn in the rock before his eyes. 
While Thor with wonder view'd this cave, 

The giant humbly said : 
*^ Behold ! the blows thy hammer gave 

Those caverns three have made. 



'* But still th' illusion to maintain, 

And further still thy sense deceive, 
I rubb'd my brow and feignM some pain 

At every blow thou thoughtst to give. 
1 must confess thy hammer's shock 

Could lay the mightiest low ; 
But thou didst split the granite rock, 

Instead of Skrymur's })row. 



86 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

^*- I thought to lead thee ^stray amidst 

The mcuntain's windings intricate ; 
By my contrivance Hwas thou didst 

Arrive at pale-blue Hela*s gate. 
I thought to frighten thee away 

From our snow-cover'd zone ; 
But fear to thee, I needs must say, 

Is utterly unknown. 



'^ And now will I relate to ye 

How all occurr'd in my domain : 
Then listen to my words, 1 pray, 

While those enigmas 1 explain. 
And first, Lok ! 1 gave to thee 

A dish well filPd with meat ; 
Thou didst thy duty manfully, 

'T was sport to see thee eat. 



*' Though thou with all thy force didst eat, 

And we thy powers did much admire, 
Yet how couldst thou escape defeat, 

When thy competitor was Fire ? 
For thus the goblin fierce we call 

With ever-craving maw : 
What wonder, that bones, dish, and all, 

He should consume like straw? 



CANTO VI. 87 



'^ And, Tialfel though ia racing thou 

Didst manifest a wondrous speed, 
Yet to thy rival thou must bow, 

His swiftness far did thine exceed ; 
But whereas the wonder that sharp elf 

Should first the goal embrace ? 
For know 1 it was my Thought itself. 

The dwarf, (1) who won the race : 



^^ All things in swiftness Thought excels : 

Who can so plain a truth gainsay? 
And mine I charged with magic spells. 

To lead thee from the course astray. 
Yet though but ill-success ye' ve met 

On Utgard's gloomy shore, 
Believe me, we shall ne'er forget 

The mighty deeds of Thor. 



'^ I cannot from thy praise restrain, 

O Asa ! for thy powers of drink ; 
For though the horn thou couldst not drain, 

Thou didst not from the effort shrink. 
Each of my vassals stood aghast 

At such a bold essay ; 
For one end of that horn so vast, 

Think ! in the ocean lay ! 



88 THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 

'^ While thou didst so much water quaff, 

O Asa! we could well perceive 
The horn by suction did one half 

The sea of its contents bereave : 
Dost thou of my assertion doubt ? 

Go to yon clifPs high brink, 
And see how much thy drinidng bout 

Has made old Ocean shrink !^' 



Now Asa-Thor moved towards the sea ; 

Him followed Roska, Lok, and Tialf : 
They lean'd upon their swords to see 

The ocean ; it had sunk one half. 
The depth immense they all admire 

From a stupendous height ; 
But terrified, they quick retire 

From the appalling sight. 



Then thus the chief of Utgard : ^' Thor, 

i hope, will bear me no ill-will ; 
1 trust he hath absolved me, for 

Fve giv^n him scope to prove his skill 
My spells have only served to show 

His powers in clearer light ; 
The sands from whence the waters flow 

Have testified his might. 



CANTO VI. 811 

<< When thou, great chieftaia, shalt return 

To thy bright dome in Trudvang^s grove, 
There shalt thou find that drinking-horn : 

Accept it as a pledge of love. 
'Twill serve thy visit to recall 

To Utgard-Lok*s abode, 
And cause, when drinking in thy hall, 

The daily ebb and flood." (2) 



Then Thor: ''In fraud and artifice 

Thou art a most accomplishM elf ; 
Methinks it would not be amiss 

To try my strength upon thyself. 
Thou dost deserve with broken head 

Thy treason to deplore, 
And that this hand be tinged with red, 

And moistenM with thy gore.'^ 



Then Utgard's chief to sigh began, 

With quivVing lip and fait' ring tone : 
^' It would not, sure, the stronger man 

Become to slay the weaker one : 
Thy struggle with the cat we saw 

To raise it towards the roof; 
When it began to spit and claw. 

With fear we stood aloof. 



CglKC© VM. 



THE RETURN HOME. 



Girding his belt still closer round 

His loins, the chief his way pursued : 
Towards eve a meadow vast he found, 

Where herds of cattle grazing stood. 
Still moving on with soul on fire, 

His eyes a distant dwelling reach, 
The humble cot of Tialfe^s sire 

EmbosomM in a grove of beech. 



Then Tialfe blushM, and towards the cot 

Ran lustily along the grass : 
Him foUowM Roska light of foot 

With streaming hair and rosy face. 
To view the spot how great their joy, 

Where first the breath of life they drew ! 
Shouts of delight reveal (he boy ; 

Roska shed tears like morning dew. 



CANTO Vil. 93 



Close to the cottage-door outspread 

A linden-tree its branches wide : 
The peasant there beneath its shade 

Sat with his consort by his side. 
Soon as the children met their eyes, 

High beat their hearts with ecstacy ; 
** Lo! there is Tialf !" the Gaffer cries 

^* Lo ! there is Roska !^' echoes she. 



The dame gave vent to many a tear, 

When clasping Roska in her arms : 
Much wonder caused the shield and spear, 

And eye that spoke of war's alarms. 
The ancient dame felt never tired 

Upon her daughter's charms to dwell ; 
Her size improved she much admired, , 

Her slender waist, and bosom's swell. 



'^ I scarcely can believe, that I 

Gave birth to such a daughter brave : 
Whence gottest thou that flashing eye P 

And who that shining corslet gave ?" 
Young Roska gravely thus repUed : 

'* My gracious master Asa-Thor 
The corslet shield and sword suppUed : 

His lessons fit my soul for war." 



94 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Then the old man with locks so grey 

In close embrace his Tialfe held : 
The youth with self-esteem swelPd high, 

Proud of his casque, his lance and shield. 
^' My darling boy! in truth, *tis strange," 

Thus sobbing did the parent say : 
** Whence comes so wonderful a change? 

Thou wert a child but yesterday. 



*' Whence gottest thou that martial brow, 

And strength the toils of war to brave? 
Who gave thee force to bend the bow. 

And who that glittering armour gave ? ^' 
Then Tialfe: ^^Thor my gracious lord 

Gave me these arms^ the art of war 
From him I learn ; to wield the sword, 

And poise the lance, and mount the car. 



»i 



When to his parents Tialf reveaPd 

The presence of the puissant Thor, 
The M man and his consort kneeFd, 

Inspired with awe, the god before : 
With timid sigh the old man said : 

'' O god I whose fame the world doth fill, 
Thy car is safe beneath my shed, 

And thy two goats are living still/' 



CANTO VH. 95 

This speech the Asa's nerves restored ; 

His wrath quick vanished like the wind : 
Reflecting on the giant's word, 

He felt consoled in heart and mind. 

m 

Now to the stable straight he goes, 

And opes the door : with joy he swell'd, 

And quick foi^ot all cares and woes, 
When he his goats and car beheld! 



And now the giant queiler took 

(His custom 'twas) his hammer bright ; 
A well directed blow he struck, 

And slew his goats of colour white. 
Now jumpM th* old woman up in haste, 

Upon the board to spread the cloth ; 
While Lok began the meat to baste. 

And feed the fire, and mix the broth. 



Lo ! from the wood the peasant's son, 

Laden with faggots, now appears -, 
He piles them on the hearth : anon 

The smoking flesh the trav'liers cheers : 
No dish had they ; Thor's buckler broad 

This want supplied : and now they feed 
With hearty zest, while the goats' blood 

Furnish'd, as wont, delicious mead. 



tttt THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

No sooner was the supper past, 

ThoK^ rose observant of his rite ; 
The bones within the sl^ns he cast : 

But Tialfe's father at the sight, 
Mindful of what before was done, 

Quits hastily the festive hearth, 
And grasping by the arm his son, 

Into the forest leads him forth. 



Then Thor, the mighty, cried aloud : 

'* Why dost thou lead that youth away ?'' 
But the old peasant only bowM, 

And to the grove pursued his way : 
^^ What once he did, I recollect, " 

Quoth he ; ^^ I must not hesitate ; 
Vm fearful, if he be not check'd, 

He may his former trick repeat. " 



The giant-queller laughM amain : 

'^ Nay, father! leave the youth alone; 
I wager, Tialfe will ne^er again 

Be tempted by a marrow-bone : 
To renovate his strength he now 

No longer needs to suck the marrow, 
As whilom, when he drove the plough, 

Or feird the wood, or wheel'd the barrow. 



CANTO Vn. 97 

CbeerM by the Asa^s blithesome mood, 

The old man let TialPs kirtle go : 
The travelers oow,^ with savoury food 

Refreshed, their thoughts on sleep bestow. 
But Thor, the mighty god of war, 

Whose soul with thoughts heroick glows, 
Doffd not his armour ; in his car 

He stepp'd, and there enjoy'd repose. 



The morning dawnM : with choral lay 

The featherM songsters fill the skies : 
The sun ascends ; the travelers gay 

From slumbers light refreshM arise. 
To war and bold adventure prone, 

Each buckles on his armour strait, 
And whets his weapon on the stone, 

That stands without the cottage gate. 



On the goats^ feet Thor went to nail 

The shoes of gold ; the silken reins 
He fastenM, and prepared to sail 

Across the vast celestial plains. 
He grasps his hammer ; in the car 

His followers place them by his side : 
'Midst thunder's crash and lightning's glare 

They mount, and skyward rapid glide. 

12 



98 THB GODS OP THE NORTH. 

The car swift rolling through the sky 

The peasant views with mute amaze : 
The more he marks them mounting high, 

The more he stares with stupid gaze. 
Soaring aloft, what words can paint 

Roska's and TialPs extreme surprize, 
When stretching cross the firmament 

The rainhow ring salutes their eyes ? . 



When Asa Thor, the god renowned. 

Arrived within his bright domain, 
Behold a purple blush around 

Spread itself o^er the azure plain : 
Heimdaller, when he view'd the car, 

Sounded his horn in glorious style ; 
And the seven Virgins greeted Thor 

With wave of hand and gracious smile. 



Then said the Miolner-brandisher 

To the young Roska lily-white : 
*^ 'Twere best I bring thee strait to her, 

Who rules in Folkvang, Freya hight ; 
For never since the world has been 

The world, was female, wife, or maid, 
In Trudvang's warlike castle seen ; 

Nor will I now that rule evade.'* 



CANTO VII. 99 

The dome of Freya, queen of love, 

The fairest of the Disar fair. 
Stands in a vale, where many a grove 

Of rose-trees sweet embalms the air. 
From earthly sorrow and annoy 

For ever freed, each constant youth 
And faithful maid doth there enjoy 

The guerdon bright of love and truth. 



In that abode of joy and bliss, 

Where many a graceful form is seen, 
The greatest ornament, I wis, 

Is Freya's self, the lovely queen. 
Her golden hair, her eyes deep blue, 

Her bosom turn'd with finest swell, 
Her slender waist, her skin's soft hue, 

Her teeth which brightest pearls excel. 



Her breath of sweetest flower perfume, 

Her soul-enchanting smile, her cheek 
Whidi emulates the peach's bloom, (1) 

All these to sing my voice is weak. 
In either hand she holds a rose ; 

Each doth delicious odour spread : 
Each with the liveliest colour glows ; 

One tinges mom, one eve with red. 



>00 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

So gentle is her soul and mind, 

All painful cares and griefs she heals : 
Her breath, which forms the vernal wind, 

The earth with vegetation fills. 
When mom displays its roseate hue, 

Tears glisten in her orbs so bright ; 
These fall to earth in shape of dew, 

And fill each floweret with delight. 



Two daughters claim her tend^rest care. 

Their Caiiltless forms what graces deck I 
Like waterfall, their radiant hair 

Streams down their alabaster neck ! 
Hnos, wbo the moon's bright chariot guides, 

The paragon of children shines: 
Siofna, who over sleep presides, 

AH hearts to peace and love inclines. 



^^ Folkvangur is the place, mediinks, 

Most suital^le to Roska fair ; 
From danger, oft T ve seen, she shrinks. 

And {ails in strength the shield to bear." 
Thus Thorin disappointment said. 

Then from the girl her armour takes : 
*^ Give up fbyswordi thou peasant maidl 

Sueh weapons ill become thy sex. 



" ni lead thee strait to Freya's grove, 

Where every female loves to dwell : 
Better wilt thou in sports of love, 

Than in the toils of war excel. (2) 
Good will and spirit too thou hast, 

Butofl thy vigour Eaik at proof: 
For thy soft-Gbred hand *twere best 

To hold the harp, or weave the woof." 



Thereat to Freya's blest abode 

He march'd, with Roska by his aide ; 
The maid accoBpanied the god, 

With confidence of joy and pride. 
The goddess praised her graceful air. 

Her shape, her eyes, her youthful bloom 
And from that moment Roriui fair 

Remaio'd for aye in Polkvang's dome. 



NowThorloValb^fa 

With Tialf his swain in armour dad ; 
Odin beholds him from his throne, 

And hails his son with accents f^d. 
Now the Valtiyrior bright advance 

With brimnung enps of hydromel : 
Th' Einherier all with horse and lanoe 

Now charges make, and now repel. 



J 



^m0wm maen^. 



THOR VISITS THB GIAITT HTHIR, 



Thor, though vexM in mind, his anger 

Prudently resolved to hide; 
Thus to be the butt of mock'ry 

To the giants galFd his pride : 
Vengeful thoughts his heart corroding 

Urge him Against that lawless crew ; 
Down to Ocean's deepest cavern 

He would Eftin his foes pursue. 



Now to Odin's throne ascending 

In his brazen armour clad, 
Low with filial reverence bending. 

To AUader thus he said : 
* ' Force 'gainst giants naught availeth ; 

Wisdom too must bear its part : 
Fatherl from thy cup of science 

Grant one drop to cheer my heart!" 



Quaffing now from wisdom's beaker, 

New conceptions fill his braia : 
Naught this time toLok his comrade 

Of his plan will Thor explain. 
Sole his bold career pursuing, 

Think I what joy his bosom feels, 
Proudly Dovre's lofty pine-tops 

Crushing ^th his chariot wheels. 



Now the rocky cave approaching, 

Near the vast white-foatning sea, 
Where for ages Midgard's serpent 

CoiI'd amidst the sea-weed lay ; 
When he view'd it put in motion 

Treach'rously the billow blue ; 
SwelI'd his heart with deep emotion ; 

Glances proud towards heaven he threw. 



Monster vile I thou shalt no longer 

(Thus in thought discourse he holds) 
The affrighted earth encircle 

With thy venom-swelter'd folds. 
Thou shalt cease thy hateful pastime, 

Hurhng seamen down to Ran : 
Thor shall crush thee ; from thy fury 

Thor iball free the race of man. 



( 
i 



106 THE GODS OF THB NORTH. 

Now the giant woke, and casting 

Round his. eyes of fiery hue, 
In a corner Thor discovered | 

Like a weak-limb'd lad to view. 
'' Ha I who into Hymir^s dwelling 

Rashly dares to force his way P 
Wretched stripling ! for thy boldness 

Thou with loss of life shalt pay.'' 



Then the stripUng, nothing daunted : 

^^ Here I stand with conscience clear; 
Time doth all conditions level ; 

Nought is to be gainM by fear. 
Though before I never trembled, 

Now I well may feel alarm : 
Sure, a chief so strong and mighty 

Will not deign a boy to harm ? 



'' Much doth it become a giant 

Magnanimity to show ! 
Nought would it, chief 1 avail thee, 

Should my blood in torrents flow : 
Why then should I feel down-hearted ? 

Thou wouldst but despise me more ; 
Thinkst thou, I have left my courage 

At my father's cottage-door P 



CANTO VIII. 107 



*' Pale to turn and fear exhibit 

Baseness proves, and naught avails ; 
See the hedgehog, who a prisoner 

In his bristly castle quails : 
Naught he deems himself in safety, 

Though his quills erect he rears ; 
Still to peace and joy a stranger, 

E'en the slightest noise he fears. 



** Not so acts the little sparrow, 

Far more delicate and weak ; 
Though not cased in mail, in ev'ry 

Cleft and nook he shows his beak ; 
Mark, his bold, adventurous spirit 

Ne'er from danger keeps aloof ; 
Frank and free, he often perches 

Twitt'ring on the peasant*s roof. 



^' Here I stand, a simple sparrow, 

In the gianf s dark abode ; 
Sure the mighty eagle will not 

Deign to shed a sparrow's blood ! 
Coarsest food, naught else I ask thee ; 

Crumbs, that from thy table fall ; 
And whene'er thou goest a fishing, 

I will aid thy net to haul." 



lOS THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Then the giant, loudly laughing, 

StretchM his lip firom ear to ear : 
'' Him, who thus implores my pity 

Slay I will not ; do not fear ! '' 
Much he laugh'd to hear a story 

Told in such a simple strain, 
And his laugh so wild and boisterous 

Made the forest ring again. 



Then said he : '* In th* early morning 

Rudely blows the northern blast ; 
Here thou'rt from its force protected, 

Couch'd within this cavern vast* 
But when sitting in the fragile 

Bark on the tempestuous sea, 
If thy sprightliness and courage 

There stand by thee, we shall see.'' 



^' Since my nerve thou doubtest, giant,'' 

Thor replied, * * No more delay 1 
Put me quickly on the trial ; 

Hast thou any bait, I pray?" 
** Friend, the bait that best will suit thee 

In my garden thou wilt find ; 
There doth many a caterpillar 

Round the bushes crawl and wind. 



CANTO VUI. 109 



'' But if on the leaf thou findest 

None, of other means 1 know : 
Take thy spade and dig yon barrow, 

Worms enough thouUt find, I trowl 
Take thy shirt-pin off and bend it ; 

Lo ! a fish-hook hast thou strait. 
Then thou art prepared for fishing ; 

I myself use eels for bait/' 



'' Ha I the worm shalt not escape me,'' 

Angry Thor replied, ^^ 1 know ; 
Round my arm in anguish writhing. 

It shall perish by my blow. 
Come, no more delay 1 allow me 

But to take what suits me best.'' 
^^ Go and do so," said the giant ; 

Off the stripling sets in haste ; 



To the meadow straight he hies him, 

Where the giant's cattle stood ; 
There full butt a bull ferocious 

Barr'd his way in threat'ning mood. 
Now with levell'd horns he rushes 

On the youth his rage to wreak ; 
Thor, its head with both hands seizing, 

Tore it from the bleeding neck ! 



110 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

With the head upon his shoulder 

Ofthe proudly-horned bull, 
Thor came running 'cross the meadow, 

High in glee, of courage full. 
With the greatest ease he bore it, 

And he needs must run in haste, 
For the giant had already 

Hoisted in his boat the mast. 



When the giant on the shoulder 
' Of the youth the bull's head view'd, 
Loud he praised his strength and courage, 

Much admired his hardihood. 
Launching now the sloop for fishing, 

Each the oar with ardour plies, 
While the keel with noise and creaking 

Through the dark blue billow flies. 



Then thought Aukthor : To the serpent 

Could I once approach as nigh, 
So that I could thrust my Moilner 

Into his ferocious eye, 
This would give me greater pleasure, 

Than to hear the clash of arms, 
Or to gaze in proud Valhalla 

On the bright Valkyrior's charms. 



CANTO VIU. Ill 



All the world's distress and mis'ry (1) 

From that serpent fell proceeds : 
GouchM in amhush, on the vitals 

Of th' affrighted earth he feeds : 
From his fangs all dire diseases 

He to plague mankind distils ; 
And his venom in vast globules 

Sea and land with havock fills. 



When a man by Ung*ring sickness 

Tortured, feels th' approach of death ; 
When he, during life's last stru^le, 

Faint and fev'rish pants for breath ; 
When the wife reads in her husband's 

Sunken eye his last farewell ; 
Then his scales the serpent shaking 

Hisses with enjoyment fell. 



When the mother views with anguish 

At her breast her dying child, 
Which but lately, like an apple. 

Blooming grew in autumn mild ; 
When the child will suck no. longer, 

When life's strength is vanish'd quite ; 
Joyous then the serpent rbes, 

Loudly hissing in the night. 



US THE OOD8 OP THB NORTH. 

When man's brain in death is frozen, 

Loud he testifies his joy ; 
Shakes his scales, when from the topmast 

Falls the luckless sailor boy. 
When a constant swain his darling 

Maiden on the pyre beholds, 
Foams the ocean, where the serpent 

Coils itself in endless folds. 



All the serpents foul and frightful, 

That infest the labVing earth, 
Are engendered by that monster 

From the froth it vomits forth : 
From it springs the fatal boa 

On the distant southern shores, 
Which insatiate still with hunger 

Oft the biggest ox devours. 



Now this snake in motion spiral 

Twines itself the trees around ; 
Now to catch the heedless cattle, 

Steals along the swampy ground. 
Those of lesser growth with equal 

Malice their bright hues display, 
And with eyes deceitful Reaming 

Askur's hapless ofbpring slay. 



CANTO VIII. 113 



Beautiful with rings encircled 

Are their skins like flowers to view, 
Vying oft in brilliant colour 

With the rose and violet's hue : 
Vapours poisonous exsuding 

Under hedges oft they lie ; 
And the birds upon the branches 

Fascinate with magic eye. 



Fenris certainly is frightful, 

Friend of the malignant night ; 
Oft he hurls men down to Helheim, 

From the steep clifl's dizzy height : 
Oft he guides the midnight robber, 

Steel excites him to employ, 
And whene'er the robber murders, 

Fenris howls with frantic joy. 



'Gainst the forest-king the lion 

He the tiger fell begot : 
Formerly the bear suckM honey, 

Guileless in his mossy grot. 
Next engendered he th' hyaena, 

Lynx, and fox, to plunder given ; 
And 'gainst these the bear and lion 

Are to endless contest driven. 

13 



114 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Fenris, when a wounded body 

He perceives at midnight hour, 
Makes it carrion ; but this serpent 
Hath a far more dangVous power : 
1 will, therefore, quick destroy it ; 
Man shall cease to be its prey : 
Thor shall Askur^s race deliver 
From their fiercest enemy. 



Blest with health and strength to Freya 

Shall they mount to realms on high ! 
And when they become too numerous. 

Let them fight and bravely die ! 
They should ne'er give way to hatred, 

Even where the sword decides : 
Wrath becomes not gallant warriors, 

Whom the voice of honour guides. 



They shall move in ranks to battle. 

No sea-serpent cause them fear ; 
There like merry youths and lusty, 

Enter on their bright career : 
Manfully rush on each other, 

Wave the sword, the pennon spread, 
And in fair and open combat 

Joy their generous blood to shed. 



CANTO Vlir. 115 

Then when blood streams forth in torrents^ 

Tfaor in arms shall tread the sky, 
And 'midst thunder's crash and lightning 

Summon them to Yalhall high : 
There admitted 'mongst the Asar 

Shall they quaff delicious mead, 
While with heavenly harpings Bragur 

Ghaunts aloud each glorious deed. 



Thus the Asa thought, and onward 

'Gan to row with all his might ; 
With his oar he made the billow 

Fly before him foaming white. 
Fired with anger, he continued 

On with furious zeal to row : 
Streams of brine in spray dissolving 

Down his back and shoulders flow. 



Now the boat half filFd with water, 

Giant Hymir cried in wrath, 
'' Hold ! I bid thee I row no longer! 

We shall swamp, and perish both." 
** Nay," said Thor, '* let us go farther ! 

Soon we'll make a glorious cast ;'* 
But the giant stampM with passion, 

Leaning 'gainst the quiv'ring mast. 



116 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

*' If thou rowest any further, ^' 

Said the giant, << we shall reach 
Just the spot, where Jormundgardur 

His enormous length doth stretch. ^ 
*^ As for me, I fear no serpents, ^' 

Thor replied, the fisher good ; 
'^ Boiling wave and howling tempest 

Only serve to cool my hlood." 



Now he lifts with all his vigour 

Up the giant's anchor vast, 
Fixes the hull's head upon it, 

To his belt then makes it fast : 
One end fastened to his body, 

Now it serves him as a line ; 
Overboard he throws the anchor, 

Trusting to his skill divine. 



®ii#®® ^X' 



thor's fishing adventure. 



Lo ! coiPd in folds voluminous and vast, 
Behind huge beds of coral buried fast, 
Far in the deepest cavern of the sea, 
The Midgard serpent Jormundgardur lay ! 
While o'er him free and active sports the whale, 
He foams, and with vexation bites his tail. 

Full oft he strives to lift his frightful head 
Above the wave, and terror round him spread ; 
But cased in honey rings and cartilage, 
Vain are his efforts, impotent his r^e. 
Dozing amidst the sedge with half-closed eye, 
6ft has the deep re-echoed with his sigh. 
The dark blue billow from his vision shields 
The starry vault, the bright celestial fields : 
And as the bear, when angry, licks his paws, 
Thus oft he threatens, while his tail he gnaws : 
Oysters and muscles thickly clustered deck. 
In guise of beard, the scaly monster's neck. 



118 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Lashing the coast, his body mines the rock ; 
The waters mount ; earth feels the frequent shock ; 
Nastrond wide gapes, and Hecla vomits smoke ! 
With flames of joy the ice-crown'd mountain glows, 
While down its side the liquid lava flows ! 

There, while the wave drips from his shaggy mane, 

Lok^s frightful offspring doth his post maintain : 

There doth he lie, and heave, and pant, and rock, 
Impatient for the day of Ragnarok. 

But lo ! his sluggish eye he opens wide, 

And marks the Asa's bait before him glide : 

The bull's head floating 'fore his mouth he sees, 

And eager his fell hunger to appease, 

Prepares with swallow wide the tempting bait to seize. 

When at his belt Thor feels a vigVous pull, 
The snake has bitten, and his gorge is full. 

Thor towards him draws the belt : the serpent's head, 

With weeds, the growth of centuries, bespread. 

Must needs the will of Asa Thor obey, 

And rise perforce to view the light of day ; 

The anchor to disgorge in vain he toils, 

And struggling hard in knots his body coils. 

In vain ; Thor is a fisherman endowM 

With perseverance, strength, and hardihood ; 

The serpent pow'rless with extended jaws 

Must blindly follow, when the Asa draws. 



CANTO IX. 110 

But when above the wave appears his head, 

Earth trembles with astonishment and dread ; 

The sky is overcast with sudden gloom, 

And mixM with sand the billows swell and foam. 

When high in air protrude his long fore-teeth, 

All nature shrinks, infected by his breath : 

Small is his left, and large his dexter eye ; 

His scales present a many-colour'd die : 

His jaws wide gape, his palate swells with pain ; 

As wont, Uke fighting cock, he screams amain : 

The dryness of his throat with sultry heat 

Charges the air— now threatens to upset 

The fragile bark ; but Thor around his loins 

Tighter and tighter still his girdle twines : 

Naught fears the god, whom heroes all revere ; 

He puts forth all his strength, and shines without compeer. 

Towards him he pulls his prey with effort rude ; 

The serpent writhes, his jaws are fiUM with blood ; 

The bark is swampM ; but lo ! on shallow ground 

The chief already has a station found. 

And drags the monster forth from the abyss profound. 

The monster shakes and bellows ; from his eye 

Shoot flames ; but Thor, the fisher good stands nigh, 

And threatens Nastrond's brood with hammer lifted high 

When now the giant saw the danger grave. 

Thus with himself he reasonM : '^ I must save 

This serpent, for the sake of Jotunheim : 

For is it not foretold in mystic rhyme, 

At Ragnarok this snake with poisonous breath 

Thor, our arch-enemy, will crush to death ?" 



120 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

The wolf-faced giant, vex'd his bark to lose, 

And anxious from the hook the captive snake to loose, 

His dagger grasping [fashion'd 'twas with skill 

By the dwarfs labour) strives the belt to file ; 

But Thor, with his vast hammer rising now : 

Strikes at the monster^s head a fearful blow. 

Deep was the sound I the pines along the shore 

Scatter their leaves ; and loud the billows roar 1 

Fresh *midst the murky skies the rainbow glows; 

Heimdal rejoicing loud his clarion blows i 

The rain comes hissing down, the lightning glares ; 

The sun's bright eye, but lately fiird with tears, 

Bursts through the blanket of the dark, to view 

The Asa's valour, and his triumfh too. 

On high now Thor his hammer lifts again : 

The giant shakes with fear ; the serpent yells with pain. 

Though still the giant strives the belt to file 

With his sharp dagger, naught avails his toil ; 

Now on the anchor he would fain essay 

His force ; and, wading fish-like, bends his way. 

To where, still struggling hard, the hook-bound serpent lay. 

He puts forth all his strength, and files : the sight 

Makes Heimdal tremble, e'en from Bifrost's height. 

Now dark as pitch become the heavens, for lo ! 
Filed by the giant's steel, the anchor bursts in (wo 1 
The serpent freed now sinks beneath the main, 
And hark! resounds a loud triumphal strain; 



CANTO IX. 121 

Tis Loptur's (1) daughter, who the gods on high 
Insults with gibing laugh, and bitter mockery. 

Inland the giant towards his mountain flies : 
Up to his waist in water Aukthor cries, 
And fills with imprecations dire the skies. 

Now through the yeasty wave he wades ; his rage 

And deep vexation nothing can assuage : 

He hurls his lightning o^er th' affrighted main. 

And still he hopes, and thipks the monster serpent slain. 

The serpent 'midst the rushes roHM and raved, 
Severely wounded, though his life was saved : 
Again his crest he raises, on the rock 
Again he lies, and waits for Ragnarok. 

Now in his fury Thor his hammer threw 
After the serpent : deep the nib pierced through 
The monster's flank ; the gods beheld with pain 
Such glorious feats of strength deployed in vain. 

Now Thor without his hammer homeward hies : 
Between the serpent's scales deep-buried Miblner lies. 



CflK®® 5^. 



LOK BBGOMBS ENAMOURED OF SIF. 



With pensive look 

In Valaskialf sits Asa-Lok : 

His head hangs down ; his spirits fail ; 

To cheer him naught Valhalla^s joys avail : 

The mead hath lost its wonted zest ; 

S^hrimner's flesh he scorns to taste. 

Naught good his gloomy look betides ; 
The Asar he unceasingly derides. 
Whene'er on Asa-Thor he thinks, 
His dusky front in wrinkles sinks. 

^' On fresh adventure art thou started, 

Thou mighty one ! 

And this time all alone ; 

Naught of thy plan hast thou to.Lok imparted.'' 

He cannot easily digest 

Such slights : his soul can find no rest : 

Nowhere he feels at home : 

And longs once more through the wide world to roam. 



CANTO X. 123 



Tis flattering to his pride 

In arms to follow Asa-Thor, 

And carry, by the hero's side, 

The iron gauntlets of the god of war. 

As round the oak fast twining thrives 
The mistletoe, that supple parasite, 
And strength and growth therefrom derives : 
Thus Asa-Lok, the artful wight, 
Clings to the god, although with hate 
He views him ; hoping some bright beam 
Of Thorns renown on him may gleam, 
And shed some lustre on his humbler state. 

As, gleaning from the sun its light. 
The moon dispels the gloom of night : 
Thus doth the cunning Loptur aim 
To shine with Aucthor's borrowM fame : 
While Askur's race know not the truth. 
And equal homage pay to both. 

He sits at th' entrance of a grot : 
A stream transparent murmurs near. 
To bathe in this sequesterM spot 
The lovely Disar oft repair. 

By cowardice and treachery 
Alone is Loptur known to fame ; 
The Disar all abhor his name, 
And ever from his presence fly : 



126 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Are fit for love's or war's alarms, 
T' embrace, or to defend her right. 
These shoulders fascinate Lok's eyes, 
He views her with extreme surprize ; 
Her haughty look excites in him 
A passion never felt before ; 
With gloating eye he scans each limb, 
And sinks a slave to Astrild's power. 

The arches of her eyebrows meet ; 
This would all other dames disfigure ; 
But naught doth this her charms defeat, 
But adds to each peculiar vigour : 
For in her awe-inspiring gaze 
Her lofty soul itself pourtrays.' 

Proud and indifferent to desire. 

No passion seems her breast to fire ; 

Not small her hands, but dainty white 

Like swan's-down, or new fallen-snow; 

Her nails like polish'd almonds grow ; 

On well-turn'd feet her tow'ring height 

Securely stands ; her hair loose streaming 

Down to her feet descends, with golden radiance gleaming. 

Behind the bush conceaFd, 

Are all these charms to Lok reveal'd. 

Then thus he thought : Whatpleasure should I prove 

To be encircled by such arms ! 

To taste all those luxurious charms. 

And in the beechen grove — revel in joy and love I 



Close lo my lips those coral lips I'd glue. 
Those lips, which oflier (o my ravisb'd view 
Teeth fiae as pearls, and whiter far, I trow, 
Than any beast of prey can show. 

What tumult fires my blood 1 

Oh I (hat 1 could, 

While Thor is gone a-Gsbing far, 

Fish him to shame in the same bath with her ! 

Thus thinks the lustful treacb'rous elf, 
And still behind the bush conceals himself: 
For Sif her dwelling soon will seek, 
Which Ues midst Dovre'» rocks so bleak, 
Where fir-trees undulate with many a spire : 
Her robes resuming quick, the Disa veils 
Each charm, while passion Loptur's breast assails 
With Blill increasing fire. 

She claps her belm her golden locks upon, 

Which, moisten'd by the wave, less brilhant shone. ' 

Now far inland she climbs the mountain steep : 

Lok follows after cautious and unseen. 

Arrived at her abode in the sequester'd glen. 

The rustling waterfall lulls Sifia soon to sleep. 

The wind invading now the bower 
With burning kisses dries her hair. 
And gives back to those tresses fair 
Their golden tinge and magic power. 



CflKli® XI. 



CONVBRSATION BETWEEN LOK AND SIF. 



LOK. 

Pabdon the lowly slave of love, 
Whom thy enchanting form inspires 
Once more to plead in amorous strain ! 
that thy heart would deign to prove 
The fervour that my bosom fires. 
And urge thy will to soothe my pain ! 

SlF. 

With cautious step draws near the thief, 
And dextrously he opes the door ; 
The cunning mouse creeps through the hole 
While Lok, the dark insidious chief, 
Steals to my couch at midnight hour. 
For never rests his lustful soul. 



CANTO XI. l^ 



LOK. 



To catch the fish the worm is held ; 
The trap ensnares the artful fox : 
'AH to some tempting hait must yield ; 
Lok is allured by female locks. 



SIF. 



To thy own wife, to Sigyn hie I . 

In flowing locks descends her raven hair : 

Or Angurbod with fond caresses ply ! 

She will noty sure, refuse thy couch to share.. 

LOK. 

Whene'er with thirst we languish, 
And no delicious fruit is nigh. 
The sourest apple to assuage our anguish 
We pluck, and swallow greedily : 
But when such charms as thine, Disa dear! 
Before our ravishM eyes appear. 
Who would not? — but while thou in sleep 
Indulgest, Thor goes fishing on the deep : 
Thoughtless of home he braves the gale, 
And with the giant bobs for whale. 
While he that wild careerpursues, 
Do thou a softer pastime chuse ! 
With foliage soft is filFd thy bower — 
Love points — propitious smiles the hour. 

14 



I»0 THE 00D8 OP THE NORTH. 



SIF. 



Hast thou forgot in Mimer's fane 
The banquet held ? with amorous prayV 
My heart tbou strovest to ensnare ; 
What was my answer? cold disdain. 
I am not changed ; and Sif bestows 
Once more contempt on all thy vows. 
But be advised) and quickly flee ! 
Thor may return, and on a tree 
He'd quick suspend thy odious form, 
To dangle in the midnight storm . 

The Disa spoke : indignant pride 
Inflamed her look ; she turnM aside, 
And reckless of her suitor's pain 
To sleep addressM herself again. 
Her golden tresses in profusion 
From the bedside hung streaming down, 
While Lok with anger and confusion 
Beheld all chance of conquest flown. 
But when her forehead's grove appears 
In sight, by vengeance fired, the shears 
He takes, and with malignant pleasure 
Lops from her head its golden treasure. 

Aloft the caitiff bears away 

With outspread wings his gorgeous prey! 

How meteorlike the tresses gleam, 

As through the murky heavens they stream I 



CANTO XI. 131 

And falling down, wherever he flew, 
Give to the corn its golden hue ! 

Where'er he flew, down fell the hair 
In flakes, and tinged with colour fair 
The peasant-maidens' locks, who dwell 
On Hertha's isle or Guldhrand's dale. 
Their locks of yore were hlack as jet. 
As Finnish women bear them yet : 
But now their tresses' golden die 
May well with Freya's, or with Gefion's vie. 



An (Uiempt to tranBlaie theWih eanto in the aUiieratwe metre 
of the Icelandic or ancient Scandbuxman poetry^ BOfffneihkng 
in the style of the originaL 



CilK®® fll* 



lok's conversation with sif. 



LOK. 



FoRSiTB love's lowly 
Liegeman, Sifia! 
Again thy beauty 
His bosom bums. 
that my passion, 
Pleading for pity, 
Gould chafe thy feunter 
Feelings to flame I 

SlF. 

Through boles creep rats 
Restless roving; 
The thief undoeth 
Dextrous the door ; 



CANTO XI. 133 



Sleep is not safe from 
The snares of Loki, 
Who with lust leering 
Lurks in my bower. 

LOK. 

With hooks bait-blinded 
Bellied are fishes ; 
In traps fallacious 
Oft foxes fall ; 
By locks luxuriant 
Of lovely females 
Seduced, e'en subtle 
Loki succumbs. 

SIF. 

Go seek thy own spouse 
Soft-hearted Sigyn, 
Wreathing in raven 
Binglets her hair! 
Or to thy jet-black 
Giantess hie thee ! 
She to thy wanton 
Wishes will yield. 

LOK. 

By hunger harassM 
Haws must content us, 



134 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

When no well-flavour'd 
Fruit we can find. 
Be not disdainful, 
Delicate Disal 
Hear with complacent 
Pity my prayer I 

On the high seas with 
Hymir, thy husband 
Sits in the wherry, 
WheedUng the whale : 
Or, of home reckless, 

Roves by the rivers, 

Intent the silv^y 

Salmon to snare. 

While he his own way 
Wilfully wanders, 
Do thou more pleasing 
Pastime pursuel 
Thy blooming bower is 
BestrewM with foliage ; 
The hour so longM for 
Lures us to love. 

SIF. 

Of Mimer's bounteous 
Banquet bethink thee, 
When thou to Sifia 
Sigh'dst forth thy suit ! 



CANTO XI. 135 



This time again fate 
Frowns on thy frolic ; 
Vain are thy vows to 
Vanquish my heart. 

Get thee hence, heartless 
Hater of Asarl 
Thundering terrific, 
Thor travels home : 
To loftiest larch-tree 
LashM, he'll suspend thee 
Mournful to moulder 
In midnight storms. 

Thus the disdainful 
Disa derided 
Her lustful lover's 
Languishing suit : 
Turning away from 
The fiend false-hearted, 
Sinks the fair Sifia 
Softly to sleep. 

But now the fraudful 
Felon's eye fixes 
From the bedside her 
Hair hanging down : 
From the head of Sifia 
(Seizing her scissars) 
Clips he its golden 
Glittering grove. 



13G THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 

Through airy regions 
Rapidly rising, 
Loptur licentious 
Launches his flight: 
Proud of his precious 
Prey, he deploys it ; 
Like shooting star, he 
Scuds through the sky. 

Thus shone the recreant 
Ravisher roaming, 
Vaulting thro^ veering 
Vapours of night : 
For though in murky 
Mists mournM the heavens, 
Sifia's locks dismal 
Darkness dispelled. 

Where'er he flew, in 
Flakes fell the hair down 
O'er Hertha's fertile 
Flower-crown'd fields ; 
StilTning the wheat-stalks 
Wide-around waving, 
Yarely with yellow 
Gilding the green. 

Where'er he flew, in 
Flakes fell the hair down, 
Gleaming on Guldbrand's 
Grain-cover'd vale : 



CANTO XI. 137 



Now on each lively 
Lassie it lowers, (1) 
Tinging with topaz 
Tresses of jet. 

Of yore in ringlets 
Raven-hued roUing, 
Their hair overshadowed 
Shoulders of snow : 
Now they display their 
Tresses triumphant, 
Golden, like Gefion's, 
Like Freya^s, fair. 



®iiK®® 5M. 



LOK PROCURES THINGS OF YALIJE FROM THE DWARFS. 



LoK sat in his hall and thought on his deed, 
With his vengeance well content ; 

But Sif, o'er the lake as she how'd her head, 
To a flood of tears gave vent : 

For no more in ringlets she now can wreathe 

Her hair so golden, so shining ; 
When her face'sheview'din the stream beneath, 

She never could cease repining. 

But Lok sat under the greenwood tree, 
Like the cunning fox by his hole : 

Now the earth felt a shock, and began to rock, 
And the thunder began to roll. 

And well he knows what that sound betides ; 

'Twas a sign that Thor was coming : 
So, changed to a salmon, he quickly glides 

All into the flood so foaming. 



CANTO XII. 139 

But Thor in the shape of a gull dived down, 
And the salmon he caught with his beak : 
'' Thou knave," quoth he, '^ well I knew 'twas thee *, 
Thou shalt bitter rue thy freak. 

*'ril break and pound every bone of thine, 

As the mill-stone pounds the corn." 
Now L ok, resuming his shape divine, 

His mischief afTects to mourn : 

'^ Why this rage ?" quoth he, with humble prayer? 

^' By slaying me where's thy gain ? 
Sif will not recover a single hair. 

Bald-headed for aye sheUI remain. 

'' If thou wilt forgive my frolic this bout, 

fTwas a sorry frolic, I own,) 
Why then I swear by leek and by crout, (1) 

By the moss on the Bauta-stone, (2) 

^' By Odin's (3) eye, and by Mimer's fountain, 

By thy hammer and golden car, 
rU straight descend to the caves of the mountain, 

To the dwarfs, who my vassals are. 

^* And for Sif a new head of hair Til bring 

Of gold, before dawn of day ; 
She then will rival the youthful spring 

All deck'd in her flowVets gay." 



140 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

'' Thou swear'st by my hammer, but that I've lost, 

Indicant the god replies ; 
Which weU thou know'st, in the ocean tossM, 

In the hands of Ran now lies/' 

^' Well, then, Til procure thee a hammer new," 

Says Lok, the deceiver sly, 
^' And at the bare sight of that hammer bright, 

All the giants, thy foes, will fly." 

''Thou pleadest in vain ; I come with Prey, 

My brother in arms so brave : 
Thy flesh to the ravens shall food supply, 

Thy brains shall float on the wave." 

'' O spare me, Frey ! " thus Lok made reply, 

'' Thy mercy I humbly implore ; 
ni procure thee asteed of such matchless speed. 

As the world never saw before. 

' ' All the earth around this courser shall bound, 
To mortals a cheering sight ; * 

And o'er the salt sea 'twill bear thee free, 
And shine like herrings at night." 

Now the tears he shed and the vows he made 

Have soften'd the Asar twain : 
^' Go, the depths to brave of the mountain cave. 

And, what thou hast sworn, obtain ! " 



^y 



Now like a mole through the rocky hole 

He glides, and reaches the place , 
Where with all their might, by the sulph'rous hS^U 

Stood woridng the dwarfish race. 

There the bellows blew, and the sparks oulflew 
Through the vaulted roof so glowing ; 

In leathern frock stood the dwarBsh flock, 
And crystals they all were blowing. 

They melted sand in the sea-coal brand, 

And mix'd wiUi it leaves of rose ; 
By the furnace flame it harden'd became, 

And a ruby proud arose. 

Now the females stout have galher'd without 

Fresh bunches of violets blue ; 
And the sapphire bright, to dazzle (he ught. 

Was produced from the magic stew. 

From the juicy mass of concocted grass 

An emerald fashioo'd appears ; 
And pearls they distill'd from a limbeck, fill'd 

With widows' and orphans' tears. 

In this cavern dark one could straight remark, 

That chiefttuns had play'd of yore ; 
For a table there stood, of muscle^ell good. 

And of counters and fish a store. 



142 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

In the rock inlaid was a giantess^ head, (4) 
With the bust all changed to stone ; 

And the cascade fell, with its deafening yell, 
All over the calcined bone. 

From the giantess' mouth jutting forth he saw 
Huge teeth, as frightful and long 

As those which fill the elephant's jaw, 
Or like those of the walrus strong. 

Now Lok to the dwarfs declares his mission, 
The dwaris to his mandate bow : 

^^ To|thee,'' they cried, ^^, we all owe submission. 
For our sovereign, Lok ! art thou." 

A wild boar's skin was then brought in, 
The largest they well could find ; 

And with their bellows those hardy fellows ' 
To the work compel the wind. 

Now blow upon blow their hammers they throw, 
Till sparks from the skin outflew ; 

fiut with envy's smart rankled Loptur's heart, 
And his purpose he 'gan to rue : 

^* To those Asar two I'm compell'd, 'tis true, 
The things I promised, to give ; 

But by Hel I swear, that those presents rare 
Unscathed they shall not receive." 



CANTO XII. 143 

The dwarfs in a ring, round the anvil spring, 

And busy the bellows ply ; 
But Lok, in his guile, became changed the while 

To a huge blue-bottle fly. 

On the blower's hand now he took his stand, ^ 

And began his skin to prick ; 
fiut he prickM in vain, the dwarf felt no pain. 

For his skin was hard and thick. 

But behold 1 the steed ('twas for Frey decreed) 

Burst forth from amidst the flame, 
And the form it bore of a huge wild boar, 

And Gyllinborste its name 1 

When dark is the night, and no stars give light, 

It a meteor's shape assumes ; 
Then on it mounts Frey, and rides] through the sky, 

While its mane all the earth illumes. 

Now into a mould a handful of gold 

These workmen so skilful threw ; 
Butwhendrawnfromtheflame,0! thenitbecame 

An ornament bright to view. 

For now Hwas a ring of burnish'd gold ; 

Two hands that each other grasp 
Were figured thereon, and a precious stone 

Was carved as a flower for clasp 



U6 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

' ^ Like the high-plum'd crest by the winds carest, 
It shall wave and enchant the sight ; 

It shall never decay ; like the sun at mtd-day 
It shall pour forth a wondrous light." 

ThuBshe sang, and with glee now she bent the knee, 

And presented the gift to Thor ; 
He gazed on each tress, and must needs confess 

Such locks he ne'er saw before. 

From the mountain Frey vaults his steed on high, 
Thor follows with hammer and hair ; 

To the regions of light, wherethe sire of the fight 
Rules in glory, they both repair. 

Now on Sifia fair Thor fasten'd the hair ; 

It took root like se»*weed on rocks : 
Down her lovely face, fraught withev'ry grace, 

It fell down in luxuriant locks. 

Ai Valhalla's Ting to Odin the nng 

Was tendered with homage due ; 
And Lok this time was pardon'd his crime, 

But too soon he sinn'd anew. 



«IK®^ PJHIJII, 



THE HAPB OP IDUNA. 



Odin, with Hsnir aod with Asa-Lok, 
Assuming human forms, once on a time 
To view the earth a journey undertook. 
Odin felt weary of his throne sublime 
On HIidskialf, and he fain would rove 
Tbrougfaoul (he world, mankind himself to prove: 
While through (he forest darii he bends his way, 
He gasps for breath, and feels himself but clay. 



O'er mountains cover'd with eternal snow 

They wander now, and now through Orkner's vale ; 

Before them stood, perch'd on (he dizzy brow 

Of a projecting rock, huge as a whale, 

An ice-bear fierce I naught did the light 

The travellers alarm ; the monster fled, 

'Midst heaps of snow to hide himself with dread, 

For inwardly he felt the Asar's presence bright 



148 THE OODS OF THE NORTH. 

Thus they advance to where the snow gives way, 
And grass luxuriant grows, and flowers, and com ; 
The rocks, which now before them lay, 
Birch, pine, and larch, and various shrubs adorn. 
Ice-clumps upon the roof no more they viewM, 
Where sleeps the dwarfish Lapp in gloom and smoke ; 
But in the vales strong houses built of wood 
More polished life and Ider clime bespoke. 



No longer rolling in his sledge they view 

The dark-hairM Finn by nimble rein*deer drawn ; 

The horses* hoofs here boast the iron shoe ; 

The (1) JarFs proud mansion on the well*trimm'd lawn 

TowVing arose, where lay in nuptial dress 

His youthful bride, all grace and loveliness : 

The lark with blithesome carol fills his throat. 

And silences at once the dark owPs screeching note. 



Down falling o^er the grass, the dew of heaven 

With pearis besprinkles every flower and stem ; 

Home crawl the peasant's geese by urchin driven ; 

Oxen stand drinking at the limpid stream ; 

He yokes them to the plough ; then whistling, light 

Of heart, with many a furrow scars the field ; 

While the three Asar on earth's bastion sit. 

Like warlike champions arm'd with spear and shield. 



CANTO XIII. 14» 

Then smil'd the father of the fight, 

And said to Lok, who by his side was placed : 

'* Methinks, if I have read thy soul aright, 

The peasant^s provender thou £Bdn wouldst taste. 

Of hunger too myself I feel the power ; 

By the long march fatigued, my spirits fail : 

From Vardoe we are come, in one short hour. 

To the dark birchen grove in Guldbrand's dale. 



Then laughing, Lok replied : '^ Be sure. 
Since each ingredient^s here at hand, 
A good repast Lok's genius ^U piocure; 
Fat oxen in the meadow lowing stand ; 
Like the red fox, give but the word, 
PU hie me to the peasant's pantry board ; 
To baste our meat his butter will 1 steal. 
At his expense weMl make a glorious meal. 



^' In the meanwhile an ox must H(£nir slay. 
And mth its tepid blood refresh the earth ; 
Then with his dagger's point the carcase flay. 
While I steal bread from the good peasant's hearth. 
Some humble charge thou wilt perhaps consent 
To exercise, and think thereof no shame ; 
To strike out sparks, for instance, from the flint. 
And with dry reeds and faggots feed the flame.'' 



150 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Then Odin answered, sighing: ^^ Ah ! too plain 

I feel, Pm clothed in human day and dust : 

Men live by rapine ; His their trade accurst ; 

And what one loses doth another gain. 

Go, then, employ thy nimble heel ! 

Follow thy favVite trade and steal ! 

That we are gods did the good peasant know, 

He*d slaughter all his herd, methinks, his zeal to show. 



»> 



Now HoBnir kill'd an ox, and Loptur ran 

To th* pantry, where his store the peasant kept ; 

Slily on tiptoe through each room he crept, 

And with fresh butter Bird his can. 

He then took bread made of the finest rve, 

In a white napkin wrapped ; and as he pass'd 

The hen-roost, all the eggs that met his eye 

He snatched up quick and in his basket placed. 



Meanwhile did Hcenir not remain 

Inactive long ; with much dexterity 

He bound in cords and trussM the cattle sisun, 

And fixM it 'gainst a trunk of osier nigh. 

He took the bowels out and stripped the skin 

From off the flesh ; then wash'd away the blood 

From the fat-cover'd thighs and ample chine. 

And with his prize content, exclaim'd that all was good. 



CANTO XIII. Ul 

But Odin, he who through the world^s expanse 
Hath launched the sun in sempiternal course, 
And lighting with his torch her golden lance 
Instructs her how to guide her matchless force ; 
Who, from that sun borrowing her fainter rays, 
Hath to the moon a milder radiance given, 
And bade small sparks innumerable blaze 
Athwart the pole, when night envelops heaven : 



Now humbler functions Odin's labours claim ; 
With flint and steel he now proceeds 
To elicit many a spark, and feed the flame 
With faggots, wither'd branches, and dry reeds ; 
And soon the smoke's white column rose 
In spiral motion from the burning straw. 
With conscious pride now Odin s bosom glows 
To mark the strict observance of his law. 



His glorious eye moistened with many a tear, 

Thus he exclaims, with pride and joy elate : 

'^ O wonderful in small things as in great, 

In what is distant as in what is near I 

In one small rain-drop equally divine, 

^gir ! as in thy ocean : Odin too 

In one small flint-drawn spark doth equal shine , 

As when the sun's vast orb he launched in ether blue ! 



152 THB GODS OF THE NORTH. 

''And Thor! when thou dost hurl thy lightning down, 
What dost thou more than I do now, my son?'' 
Now Lok return'd with butter, salt, and eggs,*J 
Proud of his robbery and nimble legs ; 
The weazles, foxes, rats, as he passM by, 
JumpM from their holes and thus began to squeal : \ 
'^ Lo I there he goes, our god, so trippingly ! 
Well doth he teach his subjects how to steal.*' 



Then Odin laugh'd : *' This loss will 1 repair, 
Lok's theft the honest swain shall not regret, 
For harvests thousandfold his fields shall bear ; 
This for the stolen bread will compensate. 
His flocks and herds with wondrous increase fiird 
Shall for the butter make amends, I trow : 
And for the salt, on every child 
Of his will 1 prudence and wit bestow. 



While Hoenir to divide the carcase toil'd. 
To a sharp spit a pine-branch Loptur filed ; 
Then felling two small trees, firm in the ground 
One end he fix'd ; the other end he clove 
Of each, and on them turned the spit around : 
Nor did he long delay his skill to prove ; 
He skewer'd each joint, then fed the flame, and plied 
The labours of the cook with joy and pride. 



CANTO XIII. 153 

While thus he stood watching each buhbling joint, 
To some short distance were his comrades gone ; 
When he surmised the roast enough was done, 
He prickM it often with his dagger's point : 
Yet still droppM from the flesh the tepid gore, 
As if it from a living creature came ; 
And though the fire he nourished more and more, 
Heavier and duller burnM the flame. 



Thwarted by such delay, he stands aghast, 
And ever and anon consults the sky ; 
When lo I an eagle of dimensions vast (2) 
With threatening aspect fix'd his eye, 
With outspread wings, as midnight vapours dark, 
PerchM on the branches of an elm-tree lithe; 
Forth jutting from the leaves, its beak so stark 
Shone crookM and polish'd as a reaper's scythe. 



As th' i^nis fatuvs over marsh and mire 
At midnight a malignant radiance flings ; 
Thus glared the giant bird with eyes of fire, 
And gazed upon the roast, and clappM its wings. 
Behold a dire mischance the cook befell ! 
Down fell the cloven trees ! and with them fell 
The ox ! the eagle still with frightful leer 
Gazed on the flame, which now went out from fear. 



154 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

**' Why sitst thou there ? by what accurst device 
Thus jugglest thou, '* said Lok, ^* to spoil the meat?" 
'' Of thy good cheer 1 fain would taste a slice, '* 
AnswerM the eagle, ^^ for my hunger's great : 
If then thou'lt treat me as thy guest, 
Thy roast shall expeditiously be drest. " 
Thus said, the bird his swarthy pinions shakes,, 
And hops down from the tree, and gnaws the steaks. 



With bitter gall now swelFd the breast of Lok ; 
He graspM in both his hands a ponderous spear ; 
But vain his eflbrts all, as if he struck 
In the dark night the vacant air. 
The eagle's beak caught one end of the lance, 
While Loptnr's hands fast to the other clung ; 
High soar'd the eagle through the heaven's expanse, 
While dangling to the lance his foe with terror hung. 



Borne by the goblin through the airy space, 

O'er forest, hill and dale flies Asa Lok ; 

Now dip his legs into the deep morass ; 

Now strike against each sharp projecting rock : 

The frogs all grin, the eagle laughs aloud ; 

Who feels compassion for a Nidding base ? 

The marsh bespatters all his limbs with mud, 

And brambles, brakes, and thorns his features fair deface. 



CANTO XIII. 155 

Bruised by the rocks, now drip with blood his feet ; 

He weeps ; but cold the cliff beholds his pain : 

Against his bosom mennlessly beat 

The howling tempest, hail, and snow, and rain. 

Now in the ocean deep immersed be lies, 

A hedgehog like with mackerel bedight : 

Now borne aloft athwart the sunny skies, 

A swarm of bees upon bis forehead light. 



Much did he pray and promise, but in vain ; 

Now Thor invoked, now loud to Odin screechM : 

The goblin still pursued his course amain, 

Until a mountain's snow-clad top he reach'd : 

He there with iron fetters strong and tight 

Bound fast the caitiff to a rugged rock ; 

Then jeering cried : ^' Sit there, thou treachVous wight ! 

Sit there, and groan In chains till Ragnarok I '^ 



Then Lok with humble mien and piteous face : 

*'Thou viewstme, I perceive, chief! with hate. 

And I deserve it ; how could I forget, 

That I too sprung from the brave mountain race ? 

But if my arguments thouMt deign to hear, 

And give me back my liberty so dear, 

My cunning shall the Asar's strength enthral, 

And in one common ruin plunge them all. 



158 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

' ' No raven's scream in Idun's grove is heard ; 

Nor ever jars the ear the cricket's cry : 

For Asa-Bragur the celestial bard 

All nature animates with harpings high. 

Now towards the east he turns his fond regard ; 

And when the sun, fresh bursting from the sky, 

Spreads o'er the ravish'd earth its magic shine, 

He strikes the golden harp, and chaunts a lay divine. 



'^ Cheer'd by the glorious sound all creatures smile, 
•From every flower and plant bright tear-drops flow; 
Then feels the earth a soft and holy thrill, 
And the spring blushes with a deeper glow ; 
Then beats with love the maiden's heart still more; 
Then dreams of bliss the dying old man soothe ; 
Immortal strains console his parting hour. 
And to brightGimle's realm the awful passage smooth. 



' ' If in my power thou'lt place tbe beauteous wife 

Of Bragur, with her vessel rare of gold, 

ril give thee liberty again and life, 

And loose thee from this mountain-prison cold. " 

" Well then," quick answer'd Lok, " 1 swear, I swear," 

*' Nay! ^^ Thiasse grim replied with bitter mock, 

^vThy ape-like oaths and vows thou well mayst spare ; 

No one, be sure, will trust the oath of Lok. 



CANTO XIII. 159 



'^ To all an object of contempt and scorn 

Thee gods and giants equally despise ; 

Mere froth and scum each oath by thee that's sworn, 

A cloud that into vapour melts and flies : 

No ! vacillating traitor I fraudful swain ! 

For thy good faith 1 must have surer ground : 

The peasant's dog is SastenM with a chain ; 

With his own mouth shall Lok be bound. 



'* The venom-swelter'd serpent brood 
Their poison in their hollow teeth collect, 
And only then the venom takes effect, 
When, pierced the skin, it mingles with the blood 
If from its gums each tooth be torn, 
Harmless becomes the snake and innocent ; 
Around the neck, or arm, or waist His worn, 
A strange, but still innocuous ornament. 



'^ But far more mischief^ traitor! than the snake. 
Thou causes! with thy slandVous tougue alone : 
Well, then ! this trial Fm disposed to make : 
Deprived of speech, thou shalt thy crimes atone/' 
No sooner said than done, the giant took 
A diamond pin, steel thread ; and now with glee 
Together feLst he sew'd the Ups of Lok : 
Ye gods I in truth, 'twas droll to see. 



160 THE OODS OF THE NORTH. 

'' Hold i bold ! I faint-1 die,'' said Lok 

With frightful howl — '^ one word — I feel such pain — 

For mercy's sake — I cannot breathe — ^I choke-—" 

* 'B reathe with thy nostrils I thou hast twain ; '' — 

Answ^r'd the £^ant : and with double seam 

Continued fast his captive's lips to sow, 

Naught caring for his piteous scream : 

This done, some magic runes he murmur'd low. 



** Now, then, I have thee safe : now, caitiff! hie 
To the green bower, where fair Iduna dwells ! 
To my own hall i' th' hardwood grove I fly, 
Where Cape North's granite front the surge repels. 
There bring to me forthwith my wish'd for prey ! 
Once in my arms the fruit and goddess lay! 
Then will 1 straight thy mouth unbind, 
And all our mountain race shall hail thee friend." 



Then of his own contrivance proud, 
And loudly laughing, Thiasse let him go. 
And now behold the once loquariousg od, 
Dumb, spiritless, the lowest of the low ! 
Like partridge, when by hawk pursued across 
The sky it flies, glad to escape within 
Its straw-built nest, though with the loss 
Of half its plumage, and with bleeding skin. 



CANTO XIII. 161 

But now, when near to Asa-gard arrived, 
Tortured in mind and raging with his smart : 
''Unheard of (thus he thought), of speech deprived, 
How shall I now seduce a female heart ? 
By cunning, not by force, must this be done ; 
But how can 1 my cunmng bring to pass ? 
Who both as weak and dumb to all is known, 
M ust ever for a hopeless blockhead pass.'' 



Much musing on his errand night and day, 

His brain a thought conceivM that pleased him well 

Could not a rune, carv'd on a staff, convey, 

As well as word of mouth, a fraudful tale? 

Warm, unsuspecting is Iduna's heart ; 

As genuine spouse of Bragur well she loves 

To listen to a strain that pity moves ; 

And Lok is no small master of his art. 



He drew his knife, delighted with the plan, 
And cut a long stick from a neighbVing wood ; 
His theme of lies he then forthwith began, 
And hed, as far, as the stick^s length allowM. 
These were the runes he carv'd. ** There is a tree 
r th' giants' orchard, on whose branches grow 
Apples of wondrous flavour, three by three. 
With tint, like the sun's purple blush on snow. 

16 



162 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

4 

'' These apples a more powerful juice ooulain, 
Than those thou keepest in thy golden cup. 
This liquor rare could «mce the Asar drain, 
All Jotunheim before their arms must stoop. 
To hide that precious fruit from the world's eye 
Has been the giants* constant industry : 
Thus have they, to avert the menaced doom, 
EnwrappM that grove in sempiternal gloom. 



^' But a youug giantess (O power of love !) 
Th' important secret hath to me reveaPd, 
And shown the road to the mysterious grove. 
Where flourishes that glorious tree concealM. 
But lo! while on our route, a goblin lay 
In wait for us behind the brazen wall, 
And, fearful we the secret might betray. 
Hath let on Lok peculiar vengeance fall. 



^^ To close my mouth the giant has thought fit 
With diamond needle, and with thread of steel ; 
Yet naught his ruthless act, nor murmured spell 
Hath power to damp my mother wit : 
That, thanks to Mimer, in the hour of need 
To Lok will never fail ; that still is free : 
And thus upon this staff with speed 
The giants' secret have 1 traced for thee. 



CANTO XIII. I«i 

^' If with thy apple of eternal youth 

Thou wouldst attend me to the giants' grove, 

Then would the threads burst from my bleeding moulh, 

Without thy aid the task would idle prove. 

So sure and simple is the stratagem, 

I need not pluck those apples from their stem, 

Thou needst but touch them with thy fingers while, 

They'll instant foil into thy vessel bright." 



These runes he carv'd, and with the staff he ilew 
To th' arbour in the grove across the sea, 
Where sat Iduna with her eyes of blue. 
Under the shade of her own apple-tree. 
Mindful of wondrous scenes, she fix'd her look 
Stedfast on every beast that wander'd by ; 
But most the graceful stag engaged her eye, 
Ogling his own proud form in the pellucid brook. 



A fountain bubbling near with eddying flow 
Fills, the transparent stream : with motion fleet 
A cygnet scuds across, and at the feet 
Of his fair mistress makes obeisance low : 
There with her vessel sat the goddess meek, 
And fed her fav'rite swan with crumbs of bread 
While ever and anon he plunged his beak 
Within the circles by the bread-cnimbs made. 



lt>4 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Absent was Bra^ur ; he Alfader's might 
Was chaunting in shield-coverM Valaskialf 
With rapture listenM every Asa bright, 
And every Disa fair, and radiant Alf. 
Mimer had also left his favVite care ; 
Thus like an artless child Iduna lay, 
And unsuspecting fell an easy prey 
Into the treachVous Lok^s malignant snare. 



His bleeding mouth with pity she beheld ; 
And when to reinforce his runes of guile 
If is eyes shed tears like those of crocodile, 
With grief oppressM her gentle bosom swelFd : 
She reachM to him her hand so lily white, 
And spreading wide her featherM garment light, 
Wafted herself and Loptur far away 
Towards the dark hard-wood grove, where Thiass expec- 

[tant lay. 



Soaring athwart the azure plains on high, 
Radiant was she and glorious to behold, 
As in the groves of Ind or Araby 
The bird of paradise with train of gold : 
When lo ! a griffin black rushed from his lair, 
Pounced with his talons on th^ affrighted fair, 
And bore her far away ! the giants^ scream of joy 
Reechoed from the rorks to welcome their decoy I 



CANTO XIII. Hi J 

The Disa then too late her error found, 
And wept : the winds with zeal and love intense 
Waft down her tears to Ocean's caves profound, 
And there to pearls those precious drops condense. 
And when her last farewell Iduna sigh'd, 
A mournful plaint re-echoed from the vale : 
The stagnant air blasts all the lily's pride ; 
No more the roses' perfume scents the gale. 



A dew lethargic, noisome, humid, coldj 

Around the heavens its veil malignant spread ! 

And lo ! the sun shorn of its rays of gold 

In midst of vapour stood with disk blood-red ! 

And cold became the whilom jocund breast 

Of ev'ry hero and of ev'ry maid ; 

Far towards the south the feather'd songsters prest, 

And with them too all joy and gladness fled ! 



CflK®® XW¥. 



THE DELIVERANCE OF IDUNA. 



Ab vanish 'fore the wiad the vapours light, ^ 
Thus sinks each action of the human race 
Into th' abyss of sempiternal night ; 
One billow sinks ; another mounts apace : 
Alternate peace coquetting plays with war ; 
Now in the sheath the glaive inglorious lies, 
And now with glittering menace flouts the air : 
Tis all a juggle — a butterfly, that hies 
Careless from flower to flower — pairs with its kind — and 

[dies. 



Why boast in fight thy prowess, warrior wild? 

What was it? scum — mere froth upon the sea 

Of time — self-love impellM thee — fortune smiled — 

Thy docile troop must needs their Chief obey. 

But come, lay bare thy heart ! and at the shrine 

Of truth confess I (concealment now were shame) 

Where is the merit of that act of thine, 

That made thee rival of thy father's fame? 

That (hou didst death defy? Doth not a beast the same? 



CANTO XIV. IG7 

Where Timour pulverized in days of yore 

Whole hecatombs of foes at Samarcand, 

The loose sand whirls in eddies as before, 

Nor of that triumph doth one record stand : 

The meadows still display their emerald shcrn , 

Forgetful of the day, when frantic war 

With streams of blood incarnadined the green ; 

No longer now the traveller's vision scare » 

Huge piles of human sculls, long since dispersed in air. 



And who art thou whose quenchless thirst of fame 
Thus furiously lays waste th' affrighted earth ? 
Not near so puissant as the nightly flame, 
Which the volcano's entrails vomit forth. 
The hardened lava-streams its force attest, 
And though a thousand long long years have fled, 
Give to the swelling grape its poignant zest : 
Thy deed, like ashes, moulders with the dead ; 
The ravens on thy fafbe, as on thy limbs, have fed. 



Yet do not thou crow neither, lirtle gnome 
Who sittest in thy workshop snug, and filest ; 
Who safe intrench'd within thy rocky dome, 
Lookstdown securely on the fight, and smilcst, 
As looks the lamb upon the wolf below : 
Who thinkst the awl a better instrument 
Than Aukthor's hammer : thou requirest loo 
Iduna's apple, if thou beest intent 
To reach thy labour's goal, and shine preeminent. 



J 



11.8 THE OODS OF THE NORTH. 

Whoever, dwarf or giant, seeks to rise (1) 

From his low cave to genius' source divine, 

Let him towards thee, Idunal lift his eyes. 

And view, where burning incense at thy shrine 

Bragur with Mimer, Balder, chaunt all hail, 

And in thy praise their lofty strains unite : 

No real hero will thy blessing fail, 

And future Scalds his actions shall recite. 

And o'er his tomb describe an endless halo bright. 



How flat unprofitable life would flow, 
Unquicken'd, Idun, by thy apple's zest! 
Deprived of Mimer's fount, how mean and low 
Were man's existence, by vile cares opprest! 
Dark Surtur chaunts the song of triumph loud, 
To see the lov'd Iduna captive borne : 
While Lok, of his successful mischief proud, 
Joys in his heart to see the Asar mourn. 
And Valhall's glories fled, and Valhskialf forlorn. 



Now when the sun arose, by vapours foul 

Obscured, it fill'd no bosom with delight ; 

When the dull moon slow climb'd from pole to pole^ 

It heard no amorous plaint disturb the night. 

No longer travels with his car and goats 

The once aspiring Thor ; now deaf to praise 

He throws aside his club; he raves ; he dotes ; 

While Hlidskialf, Odin's dome, shorn of its rays, 

No longer warms the earth with heart-consoling blaze. 



CANTO XIV. ' 109 

And Freya's bosom, once so proud to view, 

Now sinks like snow before the solar beam : 

Her golden hair assumes a silver hue ; 

Her once blue eyes two gelid rain-drops seem. 

Heimdal, who on his rainbow stood betimes 

Shining amidst his seven colours bright, ' 

Discover^ frightful witches muttering rhimes 

Of direst import, with black caps bedight, 

And wings, like those of bat, loud flapping in the night. 



With a lethargic mist they veil the sky, 
And summon Skada from her grot profound : 
While Niord, before whose lance all vapours fly, 
Rests in his cell, in magic slumbers bound. 
Now Skada, mounted on her glander'd horse, 
Whose nostrils, frightful snorting, taint the gale, 
Each night unchecked pursues her baneful course: 
Athwart the clouds her murky sisters sail, 
Andwithloud shrieksof woe th' affrighted earth assail. 



Each star now veils its front, which once in guise 

Of lamp illumed the heavens : the seaman bold. 

Who, sailing in the Kattegat, (2) defies 

The foaming billow and the tempest cold, 

Hath lost his rudder; and when in despair 

He to his anchor needs recourse must have, 

Behold i the cable stiff with frozen air 

Cannot be bent : death rides upon the wave, 

And stares withbeamless eye, and shakes his icy glaive 1 



170 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

When summer came, no sunbeam cheerM Ihe vale ; 
Like slave, the wretched swain must ^roan and sweat : 
His house, his tools, his clothing he must sell; 
His only thoughts were rye, and oats, and wheat : 
He had forgotten quite to bend the knee 
In humble duty fore Alfader's throne : 
His horse was far more dignified than he ; 
He felt with inward pang, and needs must own 
His watcbdog^s heart more warm, more faithful than his 

[own. 

No longer now the warriors, as before, 

Sit at the board of their crownM chieftain high, 

Gentle yet awful, worthy sons of Thor, 

Soft tempered by the radiance mild of Frey : 

In scurrilous abuse and words of shame 

To jealousy and hate they now give vent ; 

To slur and vilify his comrade^s fame. 

More than to raise his own, each chief is bent ; 

Ignoble quarrels mark their envious discontent. 



When the Scald sung, 'twas raving coarse and wild, 

No longer Gimlets inspiration sure ; 

No longer from thy breast, O nature mild I 

He drew the milk so bountiful, so pure ; 

His only nurses now were prejudice 

Aind discord , each a foul-mouth'd envious quean : 

His aim is now, deep grovelling in vice. 

To please the multitude with jest obscene, 

To flatter or to mock, calumniate and feign. 



CANTO XIV. 171 

Once Saga sat, and on her shield engraved 
Each act of virtue generous, good, and great : 
Of graver and of buckler now bereaved, 
She pines, unconscious of the world^s debate : 
The fond devotion to the public weal, 
The scenes of Nidaros and Leir in vain 
Crowd fore her eyes, and to her sense appeal : 
The heron of oblivion clouds her brain ; 
Self-interest views the oak and laurel with disdain. 



Sage Mimer grievM the world's mischance to know, 
And Balder mark'd it in his bright abode : 
With bitter tears see Mimer's fountain flow I 
The sap no longer gives the kernel food. 
And Balder, gentle-hearted as a maid, 
Visited Mimer in his cavern cold : 
At once the rueful change they both surveyed : 
Twas night, and Balder sat with locks of gold. 
His once unruffled brow in gloomy wrinkles roHM. 



Twas easy to perceive all joy was fled ; 
Each goddess had her youth and beauty lost. 
What wonder Mimer bowM his laurelPd head, 
At such discovery sad, dishearten^, crost ? 
What wonder Balder, once serene and meek, 
To omens dire should yield himself a prey ? 
Hear him with quivVing lip and hectic cheek, 
Grief in his heart, and madness in his eye. 
Rave incoherent strains, wild gazing at the ^ky I 



n-i THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Now at the ash Yggdrassil they alight. 
Whose brancties o^er the earth their shade extend ; 
The holy tree, to which the Asar bright 
Down from the bridge of Bifrost all descend. 
There, as a shepherd watches o^er his flock, 
Odin, enthroned as judge supreme, appears ; 
•Examines every cause with piercing look ; 
Enacts new laws; pronounces doom ; and hears 
Whatfromthe nether world his courier Hermod bears. 



In this immortal ash an eagle lives ; 

All things it sees, and straight imparts the same 

To Odin^s ravens: (4) but no longer thrives, 

Vigilant as before, its look of flame. 

Thick murky vapours an unwholesome veil 

Spread o'er the tree, and glide with motion fleet 

O'er rock, and marsh, o*er forest, hill, and dale: 

The squirrel crouching at the eagle's feet 

Hath naught but rotten fruit and hollow nuts to eat. 



Balder and Mimer now direct their course. 
Passing that tree, to Urda's mystic stream : 
The forest path conducts them to the source. 
Which from the rock bursts forth with silvVy gleam : 
Fragments of stone with ivy overspread 
Choke up the passage to the silent dell, 
To all impervious, but the Asar dread : 
Berries and flowers the sacred fount conceal ; 
Pine forests thick around each eye profane repel. 



CANTO XIV. 173 

But every growth was blighted I and behold 

On the stream's brink the Noma Skulda sat, 

With finger on her lips, and aspect cold, 

The awful guardian of the book of fate : 

Omniscient queen, whose mind can fathom all 

That to Alfader's self remains unknown. 

Enormous wings adown her shoulders fall : 

A fillet broad upon her forehead shone, 

With many a mystic rune and strange device thereon. 



Green was her f^arment ; towards the fountain now, 
Now towards the days to come she turns her eye. 
WrappM in a i^ble shroud with tranquil brow. 
But with averted face, sits Urda nigh. 
Here with her sisters twain Verdandis too, 
Mistress of time, resides : her garment bright 
Was interwoven with scales of various hue. 
These females all are of gigantic height ; 
None dare dispute their will; resistless is their might. 



Sleep never ventures here : the Nornor's eyes 
Do never close, whether the mid-day sun 
Or radiant stars illuminate the skies : 
Awake they sit, though motionless like stone. 
Urda the actions of the past unveils ; 
Skulda the future cons with prudence meet : 
Meanwhile Verdandis weighs in golden scales * 
The present gifts, the gods to send think fit , 
A sceptre or a grave ; a triumph or defeat. 



174 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Immoveable they sit, mute as the grave, 
like sphinx of marble on the Theban plain ; 
While shine reflected in the limpid wave 
The figures of the awful virgin train. >^ 
Impatient the decrees of fate to learn 
Oft to this grove the proud Valkyrior come ; 
With questions sharp assail the Nornorstem, 
Then soar aloft, through the wide world to roam, 
And fill the troubled air with strange prophetic doom. 



Thus Mimer to the lofty Skulda spoke : 

^^ thou I who feelest neither joy nor woe, 

Hostile to none, friendly to none ; whose look. 

Like that of falcon ardent, can pierce through 

The blackest night, whether the dove doth coo. 

Or the sword clash, alike unmoved ; my prayer 

Do not reject 1 and resolve me true 

The great enigma ! shall Iduna fair 

Again, freed from her chains, respire her natal air?*' 



The virgin breast of Skulda swelled awhile : 

What marble seem'd, now moved with high pulsation; 

She gazed on Mimer ; and he thought, a smile 

Play'd on her mouth ; it gave him consolation. 

Urda's fount ceased to rustle through the dell ; 

Prom Skulda's lips resounds this solemn strain: 

'* When'bravery shall fickle time compel 

To constancy, and fast the recreant chain, 

Upon the wings of love health shall fly home again.'^ 



CANTO XIV. 175 

She Spoke. In sable clouds Night veils her brow ; 

And sooih'd with hope, Earth^s bosom gently heaves: 

The fount calls to its water: ^' Swell and flow 1" 

The blast loud whistles through the arid leaves. 

Homeward with joy now hie the Asar twain, 

For well the Nornor^s speech they comprehend : 

They oft repeat the heart-consoling strain, 

While floating in the air they swift ascend, 

And eager still their course towards bright Valhalla bend. 



^^ When bravery shall fickle time compel 

To constancy, shall health fly home again 

Upon the wings of love.'^ Thus through the deli 

Re-echoed wide the solemn Noraor^s strain. 

** What other god but Thor can solve this spell? 

Juggler of time is Lok, we all agree ; 

And Thor alone can Lok subdue — tis well — 

The Queen of Love preserves the prison key, 

'Tis said, that Queen alone can set Iduna free. 



These words were ponderM oft the gods 'among ; 
Thor seized their import ; red as blood his cheek 
With anger, from his bench he quickly sprung, 
And graspM the pallid Loptur by the neck : 
And lo I as round the spindle turns the wheel. 
When busy housewife spins her flax with glee, 
Thus Thor twirPd Lok around from head to heel ; 
And now he touohM the moon, and now the sea, 
While at the caitiffs screams the gods laughM heartily. 



JTG THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

*^ Thy beiog is a composition strange 
Of Asagard and Helheim (thus said Thor ) : 
Force must compel thee to repent and change ; 
Thou must be shook like oil and vinegar, 
When in a vessel mixM : but, traitor I say ! 
Ere from thy worthless trunk thy head be torn, 
Wilt thou amend ? wilt thou my voice obey ? 
Wilt thou, on the light wings of Freya borne, 
Bring back Iduna straight to Valaskiaif forlorn ?'' 



A coward and a traitor both is Lok, 

And want of firmness all his acts reveal : 
Fearful to be whirl'd round again and shook^ 
Lowly at Aukthor^s feet behold him kneel ! 
^^ If the bright Queen, the fairest of the fair. 
The lily, which adorns Folkvaugur^s plain, 
Freya, will lend her wings, I solemn swear. 
Spite of all spells, to loose Iduna's chain. 
And bring the goddess back to Asagard again. 



*' My souFs resolvM ; naught shall my purpose bend , 

The beauteous captive's sufTrings deep I feel : 

Foul Thiasse was to blame ; by him constrained 

Was I the goddess and her vase to steal. 

But o'er the forest's pines and ocean's wave, 

Gloth'd like a bird with gentle Freya's wing, 

I'll hie me swiftly to the giant's cave. 

And back in triumph fair Iduna bring : 

Health, youth, andstrength again in Valaskiaif shallspring." 



CANTO XIV. 177 

To fetch her pinions Freya was not slow ; 

Her hands to fix them on Lok's shoulders deign. 

Aye, and much more would she have giv'tt, I trow, 

Her own lost youth and beauty to regain. 

Now Lok for his past conduct feeling shame, 

And mindful too of Thiasse's bitter mock, 

O^er hill and dale, and marsh, and forest, came 

To where, deep in the bowels of the rock, 

The fair Iduna sighM, ooncealM in gloom and smoke. 



But in the dark Lok finds his way most sure : 

Naught was he daunted by the giant*s spell ; 

On Freya^s wings relies the god secure. 

Which time defy, and brave the power of steel. 

His course he steers, thoms,brakes,and briars among; 

Now like an owl he has recourse to flight ; 

Now like a cat he needs must creep along. 

At length the secret cave appears in sight. 

Where rocks piled upon rocks conceal the treasure bright. 



ImmersM in grief the fair Iduna sat 

Like marble statue on a monument ; 

Upon the sea of time so desolate. 

Which never ebbs, her look despairing bent. 

But spite of every hindrance, Asa-Lok 

Into the gloomy cavern forced his way, 

Where pined the Disa fetterM to the rock : 

Some words of comfort scarce he stoppM to say. 

But caught her in his arms, and bore her far away. 

17 



J 78 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

While ihey together flew o'er land and sea, 
Behold ! a bale fire vast illumes the north I 
Twas Asa-gard whence Odin, Vil, and Ve 
Sent messages to Lok o'er all the earth. 
But now blest tidings all Valhalla cheer : 
Iduna, borne by Lok, arrives in view ! 
Scarce did the nymph in Odin's dome appear, 
Away all care and pain and sorrow flew ; 
Each flowVet oped again its chalice to the dew. 



The lark now sang ; each goddess felt the charm ; 

Again their bosom with youth's fullness swell'd : 

Odin again felt vigour in his arm, 

And Thor once more aloft his hammer held. 

Again the sun lent to the moon its gold, 

And lit anew the radiant rings on high. 

Mimer no more his brow in wrinkles roll'd : 

Balder no longer, madness in his eye. 

Raved incoherent strains, wild gazing at the sky. 



And lo! obscures the sky a vision vast, 

Awful, but not unpleasing to behold ! 

'Tis Thiasse I who his prey pursuing fast 

Hath become dazzled by the bale-fire's gold. 

He flutters round it long with sable wings ; 

E'en as the moth, attracted by the fire. 

Into the flame abrupt its body flings ; 

Th' enormous Jotun-fly doth thus expire. 

By his own impulse buri'd against the blazing pyre. 



CANTO XIV. 179 

E*en so doth every frightful vision dire, 
Which terrifies mankind i^ th^ hour of night, 
Dissolve, when blazes forth the gorgeous pyre, 
Which from the east dispenses warmth and light. 
And thus the genial dew, which falls in spring, 
l^eds tears of gladness on each plant around : 
And every lively bird doth tuneful sing, 
Inspired with joy, like Bragur, when he found 
His darling wife once more in his embraces bound. 



Ci(K®® X¥^ 



THB YAIIBR. (1) 



Ebb ill days of yore the lofty Asar 
Schemes of conquest to devise began. 
Ruling their ancestral mountain region 
Near the plains of bounteous Ginnistan ; (2) 
Ere they, on proud coursers prancing, 
Scorning danger, sallied forth, 
Giants quelling, 
Dwarfs compelling, 
Towards the granite strong-holds of the North. 



Oft with friendly mien the peaceful Vaner 
With them sought alliance to cement : 
'Twas the Vaner taught the race of Odin 
Art and science, lifers best blandishment : 
Taught them to root out the thistle, 
And with flowers to deck the field ; 
Then to prove 
Faith and love, 
Niord the horseman swift as hostage yield. 



CANTO XY. Itl 

Drouf^t severe oft forest, vale and meadow, 
Suflfer'd from the ardent solar flame ; 
But no sooner Niord bestrode his courser, 
Fresh and cool the air at once became : 
He dispels each noxious vapour. 
Paints the sky with azure hue ; 
Predous arts 
He imparts, 
Nature to adorn and strengthen too. 



By his sister he became the father 

Rrst of Frey, and then of Freya fair ; 

By the Yaner's law he chose his consort, 

Such a tie is not illicit there. 

Both were lovely, joy'd to kindle 

In man's breast the amorous flame : 

Such a nation 

Still keeps station 

On Caucasian steeps, with well-eamM fame. 



Now behold the dynasts of Valhalla 

Swift Hmr course from Asia's valleys bend, 

Southern fire and Orient's lofty genius 

With the North's more sober blood to blend ! 

Naught their earnest wish concealing, 

Niord their soft entreaties gain : 

Straight doth Niord (3) 

Pledge his word. 

And with son and daughter join their train. 



J 



IBS THB GODS OF THB NORTH. 

Odin spake : *^ Th* unoonqiierM North mvites us 

With her fir^dad mottnlains wild and drear U 

There the beechen forest waves majeatie, 

Redolent with Ocean's bealthfnl airl 

Thither will I lead my Asar, 

On those rocks my legions spread : 

Thou, Thor ! 

During war. 

During peace shall Odin take the lead, 



Planting on each isle and roek their banner, 
Shall our bands nctorkma still advance : 
On those rugged dif& shall oft give battle ; 
Oft our skifib on foaming billows dance. 
Think ! when with the force of iron 
Mingles Orient's genial flame, 
What a race, 
Full of grace, 
Rising there, the world's applause shall daim I 



»» 



Joyful on his winged courser mounted, 

Niord for the whole army clear'd the road ; 

Drying up each marsh, each mist dispelling, (4) 

Fearless through impennous wilds he rode. 

Never weary, flying, swiouning. 

Proud his steed pursues his course : 

Winds compelling, 

Skiffs propelling, 

Nature bows to Niord's resistless force. 



CANTO XV. li>3 

Glorious to behold was Niord the hero, 
As be pranced along the meadows gay : 
Graceful through the sky his courser^s pinions 
Floated like a dream i' th' morning grey : 
Quick he views, and leaves sm quickly, 
All he finds, both Csr and near : 
With bright beams 
Proudly gleams, 
Perched upon his helm, the morning star. 



Of your aid deprived, O skilful Vaner 1 
What were in the north the Asar's power? 
What wonid then avail thy wisdom, Odin ? 
What avail thy boasted strength, O Thor? 
Frey midst thorns and brakes and briars 
Flax and corn benignant sows : 
On mankind, 
Ever kind, 
Preya offspring beautiful bestows. 



She herself obtained a handsome bridegroom *, 
Odur was he call'd on India's plain : (d) 
On the banks of Ganges first she met him, . 
TowVing midst a numerous warlike train : 
CrownM with garlands, hymns reciting, 
Swains and maidens round him throng : 
With loud crash 
Cymbals clash ; 
Rocks re-echo the triumphal song. 



184 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

See him on bis golden car high seated 
Drawn by lions and by tigers strong I 
These, compelled by his heroic valour, 
Humbly drag his chariot wheels along : 
Laurel wreaths aloft extending, 
Nymphs precede the car and sing ; 
Drum and flute, 
Lyre and lute. 
To the chaunt their aid harmonious bring. 



From the dark recesses of the forest 

Started forth the grim ferodous bands ! 

RavishM at the sound of drum and cymbal, 

With dehght they danced and clappM their hands. 

Odur by the crystal fountain 

StoppM them in the shady glen ; 

There he tamed, 

And reclaimed 

To the arts of peace those savage men. 



Now on every slope and sun-lipp'd mountain 

Most exposed to Muspel's genial heat, 

Near the wave, the branches green he planted, 

Which produce the raisings treasure sweet : 

Soon from him the valley's children 

Learn the art to press the vine : 

From its blood, 

Grateful food, 

Love finds nurture for its flame divine. 



CANTO XV. 185 






In the grove the amorous god presented 

To the goddess bright the jovial bowl : 

Clustering grapes and leaves adorn his forehead ; 

Pleasure-breathing looks reveal his soul : 

Smooth his limbs like those of woman, 

Still a vigorous male was he : 

Yet the fedr 

Disa's hair 

Bound him fast, and made him bend the knee. 



From the trees so green the birds delighted 
Mark each fond caress, each amorous freak ; 
How she with her hands of alabaster 
Fondly pats the hero's sun-burnt cheek : 
Like the billows' foami her bosom 
Proudly swelFd, exposed and bare : 
Every flower 
Witness bore 
To the transports of the beauteous pair. 



Freya now became the spouse of Odur ; 
Seldom could the lovers separate. 
When the Asar from their old dominion 
Sallied forth to found the northeiti state, 
In his chariot drawn by leopards 
Odur seated with his spouse 
In his arms, 
On her charms 
Gazing ever, plights eternal vows. 



186 THE GODS OP THE NOATll. 

Much it cost the hero to relinquish 

Such a land, the parent of the vine; 

But who would not, far heyond the raisin, 

Prize a lovely female's charms divine ? 

Still he took his vine-plants with him, 

Mindful of his precious -art : 

Oft in glowing 

Cups overflowing 

Odur's gift refreshes Odin's heart. 



Thus, while all the other gods of Valhall 

Drain the goblet filled with mead and ale, 

Odin with the apple of Iduna, 

Or with wine, enjoys his best regale : 

And when Odur fled from Freya, 

'Scaping from the gelid north, 

He bestow'd 

On the god 

What he deem'd the gift of greatest worth. 



How could he forget the lovely Disa 

After such enjoyment rich and rare? 

How thus tear himself away unfeeling 

From a bosom so divinely fair? 

Yet he'd oft, in bliss dissolving. 

Term his spouse his greatest treasure ; 

With delight 

On that night 

Oft he thought entranced, and wept with pleasure. 



CANTO XV. 187 



But when TbiasBe carried off Iduna, 
Vanished every trace of Freya's bloom ; 
Old and wrinkled, flabby and repelling 
Was the Disa, once so fair, become : 
From the couch he leaped in anger. 
Drew his sword in wiM alarm : 
confusion! 
Curst delusion ! 
Vainly now he seeks eadi wonted charm. 



*' Is it thus thou hast deceived thy lover P 

Ugly wit«di I ^ disdainful thus he said : 

'' Grace of birth divine and youth perennial 

Didst thou feign (o lure me to thy bed ? 

But the mask hath dropp'd — I find not 

Of thy charms one single trace : 

Old in mien, 

Shrivell'd, lean, 

How canst thou unUushing show thy Csoe? '^ 



Naught availM the tears of Freya : Odur 

Fled disgusted from her nerveless arms, 

Where he once such poignant pleasure tasted, 

Where he revelFd in celestial charms. 

There he left his car and leopards : 

Freya sits, to grief a prey, 

Sad, despairing, 

Wildly staring 

At the heaven's expanse, or dark blue sea. 



18i THE OOD8 OP THE NORTH. 

Never more the Asar race beheld him \ 

To his Vaner he retumM again. 

Golden tears now shed the wretched Freya, 

When she gazed upon the stormy main. 

Though she found again her beauty, 

Odur never more she found : 

Tears of woe 

C!onstant flow 

From her eyes : the groves her plaint resound. 



When the apples of the fair Iduna, 

Fruit of health and youth, were found again, 

Much it grievM ValCEider's heart to notice 

Beauty sorrowing on her couch in vain : 

Straight he sent in search of Odur 

Hermod with his magic spear. 

Now his fate 

ril relate, 

If my harpings ye will deign to hear. 



Odur hied him to the grove of laurel. 
Where first Freya met his amorous glance : 
Vain the satyrs with their music greet him ; 
Vain voluptuous damsels round him dance : 
Callous now to all about him, 
Dwelling on his loss severe, 

Much he groanM, 
Wept and moanM 
In the sandy waste, forlorn and drear. 



CANTO XY. IM 

Grapes and vine-leaves from his brow depending, 

Now with vacant gaze he fixes heaven : 

In the spring of youth thus solitary, 

Swim his eyes, with melancholy riven. 

Sweet illunon charms his spirit ; 

Yielding to the frenzy bbind, 

Lost in dreams 

Still he seems, 

On his bosom ever pressed his hand. 



Hermod, from behind the bush advancing, 

Touches Odur with his magic wand : 

Straight transformM e*en to the very marrow 

See him now a marble statue stand I 

To this day through Asia roving, 

Him, 'tis said, the Scald hath found 

Thus alone 

Changed to stone 

In the forest, still with vine-leaves crownM. 



For the death of her beloved Odur 

Deeply Freya mourns with grief sincere : 

In the ecstacy^ of melancholy 

Down her lovely cheek flows many a tear : 

Oft her heart's profound emotion 

Pours she in each lover's breast ; 

Pleasing thrill, 

Flowing still, 

Painful longing I from thy poignant zest. 



m THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

But when she came to Vingolf, her anger vanished quite : 
She viewM with admiration the fisur^hairM sons of light ; 
With love her heart beat wildly, when Balder came in view; 
With rapture fillM her bosom his eyes so soft, so blue. 

Those eyes, *tis true, lack'd lustre ; the cause ye well may guess, 
'Tis since Iduna's apples no more the Asar bless. 
Shouts Skada : " Peace I offer, and all my wrongs forgive, 
If Balder fair as husband, Odin to me will give.'* 

That Skada might not sicken from unrequited love, 
They bound her eyes, and bade her her sidll in coursing prove : 
*Twas Odin's own proposal. ^' Begin the sport,'' quoth he ; 
*' Whom (8) she blindfolded catches, shall Skada's husband be. " 

Now like a sea-bird flutt'ring, the black-hair'd virgin stout 
Bustled, and breath'd like whirlwind the spacious hall about : 
The gods draw back ; now forward theymove ; now halt, afraid ; 
No easy task they found it to shun the giant maid. 

Though tar more skill and swiftness th' Asynior all could boast. 

Before Iduna's treasure was to Valhalla lost, 

Yet Skada now excels them ; she jumps about as brisk, 

As silver-scaled fidies through billows glide and frisk. 

A pair of legs now catching, she laugh'd and straight began 
Their measure and proportion with eager hand to scan : 
She much admired the ankle, the powerful calf, the foot ; 
These well-tumM limbs, thouj^t Skada, a happy prize denote. 



CANTO XVI. 193 



At first she thought 'twas Balder : she utter'd not a word, 
But rising, tore her band off, and saw that it was Niord : 
She bunt into a loud laugh, which caused the walls to shake, 
And pressing to her bosom her captive, thus she spake.: 

*^ Ha 1 we shall suit each other ; in truth a well-match*d pair : 
As soon as with her ap|rie returns Iduna fiur, 
Begin once more thy blowing 1 TU raise the wind by night : 
In tempers dilTrent moulded, by turns well prove our might. 

*' On gold-maned SkinCu mounted, thou shalt prevail by day : 
At night, upon dark Hrimfax, will I pursue my way : 
With flowers thou lov'st to dally ; to barren rocks I cling : 
Health to the north thou bringest ; 1 Skada mischief bring. 

'' In summer and in autumn, then are thy seasons meet ; 
My vapours thou dispersest, and coolst the sultry heat : 
Then I, on skaits, o'er Finnmark with bow and arrow fly, 
And through fog, sleet and snow-storm my course unseen 1 ply. 

*^ With cricket on thy shoulder, with beechen branch in hand, 
While nightingales sweet singing upon thy helmet stand, 
Thou ridest on thy courser, o'er forest, hill and dale, 
With rays of light proceeding from his long mane and tail. 

'^ Short mane and tail hath Hrimfax ; he's black and small in size : 

Hoar frost clings to his nostrils ; his breathings chill the skies : 

But fearful are his neighings; and when he rears, then mark ! 

UnrooPd becomes each dwelling, unmasted every bark. 

18 



194 THE OODS OF THE NORTH. 

^' Me gulls and sea-mews follow with shrill ear-pierciiig cries; 
The Mermaids from the water, at my command, arise : 
The seal jumps in the billow, when I am close at hand ; 
He dares no longer sun him upon the rocky strand. 

*' Dost thou not comprehend me ? thou seemst to hesitate : 

Hath not i£gir a consort i^ th' ocean with a netP 

Is not i£gir an Asa? is not Ran giant-bom? 

Why then shouldst thou of Skada reject the love with scorn ? 

« 

* ' How long Hwixt gods and giants shall last the hateful feud ? 
'Tis time, methinks, the quarrel to end with ties of blood : 
'Twill soon to peace eternal all obstacles remove, 
If thou* to me wilt promise fidelity and love. 

'^ The bitter must be mingled with all that is too sweet. 
And life recall to living what lies in death's retreat ; 
Joy must with grief alternate ; mght shift the rule with day ; 
The herring shoals, when shining, become of whales the prey. 

''Not every plant can flourish ; thus were the cherry-tree 
Ever from storms protected by the wall's friendly lee, 
Did not the wind its blossom scatter around like snow^ 
ts trunk would soon be rotten, the tree soon cease to grow." 

By such convincing reasons the wavering god she plied : 
At the command of Odin the marriage knot was tied. 
But Idun still was absent ; dull pass'd the nuptial feast ; 
Each Disa mourn'd ; but Freya wept more than all the rest. 



CANTO XVI. 193 

Hoarse was the voice of Bragur ; the mead-honi oeased to cheer : 
A knife lay in Prey's bosom ; the cause ye soon shall hear : 
He greeted not his father, but sorrowful in mood 
He to the height ascended, where Hlidskiairs castle stood. 

On HlidskialTs tower so lofty stands Odin's mystic throne ; 
From thence all the world's actions are to his eye made known : 
No other god but Odin dare mount that awful seat ; 
Frey on that day, however, this rule seem'd to forget. 

He fix'd the royal gariand in thought upon his head, 
But half its wonted splendour with Idun's fruit was fled : 
There gazed he, sad and pensive, o'er mountain, rock and field ; 
And now my rhimes shall tell ye, what there the god beheld. 



108 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

She wreathed a band of twisted hair around her forehead high, 
Adorn'd with sapphires blue, which shone with wondrous brilliancy : 
She then put on a costly robe of asbest silver white ; 
The border of the robe was hemm'd with garnets rare and bright. 

A milk-tub made of polish'd deal he saw her take up now, 
And to the flowVy mead repair, to milk her brindled cow : 
In clover deep there grazing stood the cow with crumpled horn ; 

r th* middle of the meadow spread its blossom the bhick thorn. 

« 

She sat down on the clover green, and with her fingers neat 
Under the cow she fixM the pail, and grasped the swelling teat ; 
While the milk foamM, the beast tostare with much indifferenoe seem'd : 
'* thou cold-hearted stupid cow! ** thus Asa Frey eKclaim'd. 

His look the graceful Jotun nymph now follow^ everywhere ; 
He sigh'd : *' 1 ne^er before beheld a maid so wondrous fair. '* 
His words she heard, but innocence dwell'd in her radiant eye. 
And intellect was deeply stamped upon her forehead high. 

Her cheek a glow unusual felt; bewitchingly she smiled ; 
With piety and steady Cuth was fiU'd her bosom mild : 
He saw her then sit down to spin, and much admired the zeal, 
With which her younger sisters all she taught to turn the wheel. 

Her arms around her much-loved sire with tenderness she flung ; 
She smoothM his beard, and 'gainst the wall hisbow and quiver hung : 
When from the forest home he came, she piled the hearth with logs; 
And'in the milk put many a slice of bread to feed his dogs. 



CANTO XVII. 199 

Heath-cocks, wild ducks, add partridges upon the dresser lie : 
No more they now the thrushes' song disturb with piercing cry : 
The hare too, who such speed had shown, how changed! with legs 

[stretched out, 
Now stiff and cold he lies, while blood drips from his mangled throat. 

Now Gerda took from out a case a diamond of great worth, 
The like was never seen before i' Ih* mountains of the north, * 
For if into the darkest room Uwas brought i* th' hour of night, 
And placed upon the hearth, it shed around a dazzling light. 

Now with her apron round her waist the giant-maiden stands, 
The fire fierce burning hardens not her delicate white hands ; 
Her breast lost not its lily hue ; her cheek was not more brown ; 
That she was giant-born, could all infer from that alone. 

Towards evening to her father's house came giants old and young, 
To drain the bowl, and pass the night in revelry and song : 
Some stand onhoofsof horse; whilesome horns on their forehead bear ; 
Others have beards of goat ; the rest a loftier nature share. 

For every one is well aware, that of the giant race 
There must be many tribes distinct, of unlike form and face ; 
With human bodies some combine the head of wolf or bear ; (1) 
Some dwell in subterranean caves ; some in the forest drear : 

Others with human visage graced the Asar's type recall ; 
They war upon the gods, 'tis true, but that comes from their fall : 
Though not endow'd with heavenly power, magic they understand ; 
In woollen oft like peasants clad they wander through the land. 



8U0 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Of this last race was Gerda iedr : her sire would oft invite 
The wild Hrimthuflser (2) to his board ; she viewM them all with slight. 
'' Gerda's in truth a handsome girl, 'tis pity she's so cold : '' . 
This was remarkM by Horse-leg youngyjand eke by Goat-beard old. 

Against herrobe they rubb'dthemselves; they pinched her annsand thighs; 

At this the Jotun damsel blush'd with anger and surprize. 

^' If ye cannot behave yourselves/' said she in threat'ning tone, 

'^ n\ instantly retire, and leave ye here to sup alone." 

01 beauty with good sense allied so powerful is the charm, 
The sturdy giants felt ashamed, and swore they meant no harm : 
She fiird their cups with foaming ale, and gave them savoury food; 
But when their jokes obscene and coarse the giant carles renew'd, 

She kiss'd her sire, and sought her bower : there stood she all alone. 
And look'd out at the wide expanse, and gazed upon the moon : 
She sigh'd with longing, but for what, she could not rightly tell ; 
She felt so warm, that from her breast she dofTd the silken veil. 

The moon benignant shone ; itseem'd towards earth its course to lower. 
And sent strong rays of light within the lovely Gerda's bower : 
She thought it was the sun of night, the inlver-helm-clad moon. 
But it was Asa-Frey himself peeping from HlidskialPs throne. 

Now when, by sleep oppress'd, her limbs upon the couch she laid, 
Frey wish'd a thousand times good night to the bewitching maid. 
Descending then from HUdskialTs tower, he strait began to rove, 
Like dreamer in the midnight hour, towards Freya's beechen grove. 



CANTO XVII. sei 

Towards Freya'8 grove the love-sick god pensive pursued his way : 
Its glories at Iduna's rape became of frost the prey ; 
The leaves all lay in yellow heaps the wither'd trunks around ; 
The silver brook, once used to flowers, now flint-stones only found. 

And now throughout the grove resounds the tempest's awful yell ! 
Scared by the shock, the rain-drops bright from the dry branches fell ! 
So much had love absorbM his thoughts, when this the god perceivM, 
He thought each branch upon the trees, like him enamour^, grieved. 

The howling of the storm amongst the trees with joy he hailed -, 
It much resembled, as he thought, the sighs his breast exhaled : 
He knew not it was Skada's self, that through the forest blew 
Behind her cloud : the whole wide world appearM to him as new. 

How dreadful was the change I now seemed Heimkringlas dead indeed, 
Since from its native soil was torn the life-renewing reed ! 
But it was not Iduna's form, that Frey longM to embrace. 
But thee, o Gerda! scion fieur of Jotun^s swarthy race. 

As thus he sat immersM in thought, sudden his eye survey^ 

His sister Freya; there she stood in linen white arrayM, 

With silver ringlets, like a dame in the decline of life, 

Who on her beauty's vanished spring looks back with inward grief. 

She heard her brother's plaintive sigh. ** Unfortunate," she said : 
^ * Why didst thou HlidskialPs tower ascend ? hath magic turn'd thy head P 
Were I in all my glory now a Disa, as before. 
In the dark vales of Jotunheim naught would avail my power. 



8U8 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

' ' And if it could, would Odin e'er permit Frey to espouse 
A giantess? hath he not long for Eir redaim'd thy vows ? 
The Disa, who when Idun fair in ValhaU takes her seat, 
Gives health to all the Asar's blood with liquor from the beet." 

^^ Odin cannot compel my choice," her brother answer'd sore, 
'' E'en if he still possessM his strength and glory, as before : 
Giants to slay Thor boasts the power ; but not to quench the flame, 
Which burns impetuous in my heart for the fair mountain dame I" 

Thus the fraternal pair conversed, and shared each others grief; 
But Freya breath'd the deepest sigh, despairing of relief. 
She said : '* My dearest brother! thee the faiture may console ; 
But as for me, no hope remains to sooth my anguished soul. 

'^ For he, who hath not yet possessed what he desires, may still 
Hope to obtain it ; time one day may on his efforts smile : 
But he, who, which he once enjoy*d, hath lost the darling bliss, 
Looks from a height, and views below a fathomless abyss ! 



** Abu I a Vaner Fm no more;" thus sigh'd despairing Frey ; 
E'en were 1 handsome as before, when Idun's fruit was nigh, 
Still vanish'd is my peace of mind ; no longer Fm the same ; 
Nerveless and weak 1 feel ; and Lok, the traitor Lok's to blame. 



11 



While Frey thus reasons, lo la change (3) strikes hisastonish'd sight 
The sun dispels all mist and fog I day follows upon night 1 
The frost dissolves in genial dew I azure becomes the sky ! 
And in a whirlwind from the grove the wither'd branches fly I 



CANTO XVII. 208 

The trees stood full of buds ! these swelPd I flowers blossomed forth 1 and lo ! 
Freya now feels a pressure strange before her heart I below 
She casts a hasty ^aoce, and views with pleasure and surprize 
The rose-buds on her breast again with youthful fullness rise. 

Frey gazed upon the brook; of late slowly it crept ^midst stones, 
But now through banks of violets blue with rapid course it runs : 
The spot, where grew a noisome weed, now odours sweet exhales ; 
He lookM ; and in its place, behold I a rose the air regales! 

Now on each other gazed the pair. with mutual e<^tacy ; 

Of all the females in the world the handsomest was she : 

In him she view'd the paragon of males with rosje-crownM brow, 

And had she ne'er felt love before, she would have felt it now. 

A dapping loud of wings was heard : they lookM, and with deUght 
Beheld the stork, who with his mate had homeward wingM his flight : 
They bad been far in southern climes, the swarthy tribes among ; 
What could they not relate, had they the power to use their tongue 7 

The stork now sought his clay-built nest all in the beechen grove : 
Again over the daisied mead the cattle grazing rove : 
And bursting from his tomb, soon as the sun resumed his power, 
The butterfly each flower caress^, himself a living flower, 

The cold dissolves, while breezes mild and gentle fan the air : 
The genial warmth was felt by Frey and by his nsler fair : 
They marvel much, and listen; on each other gaze, and sigh : 
Hark! tones resound from Valaskialf ; they were the tones of joy. 



€^0wm w^M. 



JOT IN VALHALLA. 



SKiRiiiRthe m^senger ofFrey now running towards them came:(l) 
Such now is the good news he brings, he well deserves the name. 
Soon as he saw them, loud he eaird to Frey and Freya : Ho ! 
Idun to Yalhall is retumM ; ended is all our woe ! 

When these glad tidings met their ear, delight they both expressed, 
And flew to Yalhall to partake of Odin^s mid-day feast : 
Great was the joy and revelry; each Asa swelFd with pride, 
When Idun sat at the right hand of Odin, like a bride. 

Before her stands the golden vase that holds the sacred fruit, 
From which the gods the purple bloom ofyouth and health recruit; 
Next to Iduna Bragur sits ; his eyes with constant gaze 
Devour her charms : thus from the sun the sun-flower drinks the rays. 

Frigga the bounteous mother smiled : the Earth, delivered now, 
A wreath of flowers and ears of com had sent to grace her brow : 
She carves Sahrimner^s roasted flesh, and sdnds the slices round 
By a young nymph, whose temples shine with golden ElletcrownM. 



CANTO XVIII. 205 

^TwasFulla, Frigga's handmaid. Gna, who joys to mount the steed, 
Hofvarpur hight, for every guest pours out delicious mead : 
When bearinground the brimaiing horns the bright Valkyrior move, 
The charms of those attendants fair inspire each god with love. 

A seat by Odin's dexter hand just between him and Eir 
Remain^ unoccupied ; 'twas meant for Freya and for Freyr : (2) 
By Thor his consort Sif was placed ; the warlike god was seen 
Oft on the shoulders of his wife his awful front to lean. 

Next them sat Heimdal ; when his eyes Freya and Frey behold, ^ 
Smiling he draws his lip aside, and shows his tooth of gold : 
So sharp his ears, he hears wbol grow and grasses upwards shoot, 
And well lie knew what in the grove those two had talk'd about ^ 

Next to Heimdaller Gefion sat, the proud shield-bearing maid ; 
But naught avail'd to gain her heart the courtship that he paid ; 
Like rose-bud just about to burst bloomiiig and fresh her hue ; 
Yet with indifference profound doth she love's pastime view. 

All the young maidens who, uncrown'd by Freya and by love. 
By death are stricken, refuge find in Gefion's holy grove : 
Here they converse and oft in sport around the meadow run. 
When cold and sharp the weather feels, and clouds obcure the sun. 

Their greatest pleasure is to view each plant and fiow'ret grow ; 
But in tlus grove no rose is pluck'd ; no garlands bind their brow; 
The fountain, where they love to bathe, is shielded well from sight 
Profane, by a thick hedge ; secure they sleep the long long night. 



906 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Yet it IB whisper'd, when the moon shines forth, their thoughtson love 
Willsometiniesdwell; oft stolen looks they cast towards Freya^sgroye: 
But no one may such thoughts indulge, Gefion is so severe, 
No male, not e'en a little boy, dare in her grove appear. 

In front of her a goddess sat, whose temper's difTrent mould 
With that of Gefion constrast forms, as heat compared with cold : 
'Twas gentle Siofna, whose blue eyes with love and softness beam, 
'Tis she who fills the heart of youth with the first pleasing dream. 

Clad in a vest of muscle-shell, with crown of searweed green, 
Sat iEgir, Ocean's king : he drank out of a conque marine. 
Next to him sat his consort Ran, with temper given to strife : 
The timid Disar view with dread iEgir's ill-bvour'd wife. 

Harsh-featured was her bee, her look malignant, ne'er was she 
So joyous, as when vessels sunk in the wide-yawning sea : 
She dwells in Ocean's deepest cave : seldom to Valhall came : 
With pain in their bright choir enroU'd the Asar view'd her name. 

With th' Asa who sat next to her she form'd a contrast wide ; 
They seem'd the images of love and hatred side by side : 
Twas Balder, who with youthful bloom renovated shone : 
The Disar all cast looks of love on Odin's bir-hair'd son. 

His light gold tresses, parted, gleam'd over his forehead bright ; . 
His brows resembled just the flower '* the brows of Balder " bight : 
His aspect's majesty divine no language can impart ; 
Where'er he tum'd his eyes, their glance went deep into the heart. 



CANTO VIII. «07 

The guardian of a secret grave confided to bis care, 
For which the world no language hath, nor mortal clay an ear, 
Such Balder seemed ; spite of his mild and gentle soul, I trow, 
If he but cast a. glance on Thor, with reverence Thor must bow. 

Such sofitness with such strength combined no Asa boasts but he ; 
Spite of his blithesome brow, it bears the stamp of sovereignty : 
It could appease the wrath of Ran ; on him she loved to gaze : 
Then smiled she like a wave, on which a star benignant plays. 

Mother of pearl and coral bright upon the board she laid : (8) 
To Nanna, Haider's consort, she presented them, and said : 
'^ Whatever mortal thou mayst chuse to rescue from the grave 
Beneath the billow, with these gifts thou shalthavepowertosave. ' 

To Nanna sat just opposite Lofna with flower-crownM brow : 
Whenwith thy dreams two youthful hearts, OjgentleSiofna ! glow, 
Then Lofiiia, when invoked, to sooth the lover's pain delights. 
And spite of every obstacle, the amorous pair unites : 

And if this union be denied on earth, affliction's vale, 
Aloft she bears them on her wings to Freya's blissful hall. 
Nanna she gave to Balder's arms ; and pitying Signe's iate, 
Burst Hagbarth's noose,and from the tree bore him to Folkvang's gate . 

Now Hffidur, fumbling through the hall, cheerless and sullen goes; 
He mutters words in Vidar's ears, the god with the thick shoes : 
Stone blind is Hsedur, though robust, the sovereign of the night; 
A tunick black as jet he wears with silver stars bedight. 



208 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

The secrets of eternity are all to Vidar known ; 

Their stem unflinching guardian be, amongst the gods alone, 

Ne^er opes his mouth ; his shoulders are like Aukthor's, broadand strong, 

And strong like Vidar is the man who can restrain his tongue. 

Two gods, ^ose qualities on earth are seldom found allied, 
Eternally in Odin^s hall are seated ade by ride : 
Resistless is their power combined ; all ^ew them with respeet ^ 
Loder, the god of beauty reigns ; Haenir, of intellect. 

The next to Haenir on the bench the serious Yar appears. 
Stem awe-inspiring goddess, who the rod of conscience bears ; 
She hears the oaths of all mankind : whoever breaks his vow. 
To Nastrond down she hurls the wretch, to endless wail and woe. 

Near her were many vacant seats ; Forsete just and stem, 
Var's firmest prop, will not so soon to Yalaskialf return : 
As soon as Idun was released, down to the earth he hied, 
As judge supreme by Urda^s wave the causes to decide. 

Saga Forsete's footsteps close with graver and with shield 
Had followed, to record in runes whatever time reveaPd : 
But every morning her return the anxious gods await, 
To hear her Yore Alfader's throne her narrative relate. 

But Niord, to Skada married, soon the ill-matchM union rued : 
She bade him to the nuptial-couch on Dovre's summit rude ; 
In every corner of the rock the eddying whirlwind roars, 
While Skada's brother o^er the sea, the tall Vandhose, soars : 



CANTO XVlir. 209 

His arms cling to the sky ; his legs drop dangling o^er the wave ; 
He laughs ; the seamen at his sight are fill'd with terror grave : 
Now all at once, to water changed, he gushes down amain, 
And all he meet^ in his career drives headlong down to Ran. 

• 

Now Skada with dishevell'd hair from Dovre's cliffs arose ; 
She grasped her lance, to deal around dire woundsand mortal blows : 
' ' Up I come to help met bridegroom dear !^' thus cairdshe out to Niord : 
The god turns pale with anger, when he hears her voice abhorr'd. 

But luck would have it, Idun fair was on that very morn ^ 

Replaced in Valhall ; at her sight Niord felt his strength return ; 
Like tempest from the south he rose, and vanquished the east-wind, 
And Skada fled to hide herself drear Finnmark*s rocks behind. 

Lately at Garderik she put in force a strange resolve ; 
With fragments of sharp ice, which should not on the tongue dissolve, 
She fiird her lungs; with these she sought the ambient air to freeze » 
But Niord the mischief soon dispelPd with flower-scented breeze. 

Atlength they peace conclude : nine days was Niord to wear thecrown , 
Healthy and free the north remain, subject to Niord alone : 
Skada the three succeeding days might march with flag unfurlM : 
Thus with alternate change do Good and Evil rule the world. 

Ere Niord to Skada was allied, the north was far more mild ; 
Often with fire from Muspelheim the northern air he fiird : 
But longer now the mists prevail, sp doth the grim east-wind ; 
For no one boasts the power to lame Skada's malignant mind. 

19 



210 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. » 

While Skada slumbers in her cave, His Niord^s peculiar care 
In arches o'er the verdant earth to mould the light-blue air ; 
And where are more delightful woods and meadows to be found, 
Than those of Denmark, when the lays of nightingales resound? 

Niord weeps with rage, while Skada fell lays waste his rich domain, 
But changed his precious tears become to fecundating rain ; 
When rain descends, it never tails to damp the tempest's wings ; 
Thus ever 'gainst his consort's spells some antidote he brings. 

From Vingolf Niord was absent, when the mead was banded round. 
For while Forsete sat as judge by Urda's wave profound, 
He clear'd the air from vapours foul : where'er extends his power, 
Healthy and free each peasant breathes, sickness prevails no more. 

Not far from Balder Snotra sat with mild and graceful look : 
She blush'd, while from a silver dish small cakes her fingers took ; 
In gesture, movement, and in speech her gentle grace she blends. 
And often to the poet's lay her soft expression lends. 

Hlyn too was there, whom Frigga sends to guard the race of men 
From danger, when dark, Surtur spreads his snares o'er marsh and fen . 
Next Uller sat the archer good, with bow across his loins : 
Instead of war, to end all feuds by duel he enjoins. 

The Asar thus in Valaskialf their joyous vigils keep, 
Which on the arches vast of heaven rests its foundation deep ; 
Each azure-colour'd cupola on columns, doth repose ; 
Straight as the forest's finest fir each marble column rose. 



CANTO XVUl. 211 

Bucklers and swords with silver hilts around these columns shone. 
Now Bragur strikes the golden harp, and in pathetic tone 
He sings the danger that the gods so lately had ineurr'd, 
And while he sang, Iduna's cup passed round the festive hoard. 

Now far beyond Valhalhi's roof asoends each swelKng note, 
And melts away towards HUdskialfs tower far in the air remote : 
E*en as the loftiest pine in height exceeds the humblest flower, 
Thus Ervin^s minster is eelips'd by Hlidskfalfs owfiil tower. (4) 

Now Frey and Freytf take their seat : then joins the banquet Tyr, 
Brother of Thor ; no danger doth that vaBant slripKng fear : 
Behind Valftttter^s chair he stands, while hsts the snmptuous feast, 
And waits upon hhn tike a page, in scarlet kirtle drest. 



But still iiMlirible to joy atti mindful of her woes 
Sigh*d beauteous Freya ; copious tter^bedowM her cheeks of rose : 
Ah I what is beauty? (thns tbe Aouglit) attd why shoilld it return, 
If from the heart the heart's belored remain for 6ver torn ? 

While Freya thus indulged in grief, Odin, the mighty lord, 

His courier Hermodeaird; hecame,and, charged with Odin'sword, 

Went out again, but reappeared, quick as a waterfall, 

And Freya's daughter, little Hnos, he led into the hall. 

The little creature smiling stood behind her mother's chair, 
Over her shoulders delicate streamM down her well comb'd hair : 
The mother wept still more ; her child close in her arms she prest ; 
A flood of golden tears humect the lovely Freya's breast. 



S12 THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 

See Odin now the god sublime quick from the table rise ! 
To Hermod whispers he a word with anger in his eyes : (5) 
Straight Hermod vanished from theliall, arm'd with his magic wand: 
Not half so swift the falcon flies, launch'd by the hunter's hand. 

that Alfader had not mark'd the beauteous Freya's grief ! 
Alas 1 how anger's haste destroys all prospect of relief ! 
If Odur could have seen, methinks, his consort fair once more, 
Repentance' sting he would have felt, and lov'd her, as before. 

But now to marble statue changed, what can he ieel ? 'Tis true, 
His eyes wide open stand , but naught those eyes have power to view : 
No animation from the grapes doth wretched Odur prove 
That deck his brow ; on feet he stands, but those feet cannot move. 

Now freya must for ever grieve, and her own grief impart 
To other hearts ; henceforward love was mix'd with painful smart : 
Happy, as handsome, Hnos became, as she advanced in size ; 
She brings delight and joy to love ; but Freya tears and sighs. 



«IK®# 3W' 



HB BlNHSaUSR. 



Fhok Valaskialf to the next hall Odin repairs in state, 
Where thousands of th* Einherier their king's approach await. 
The folding doors, at Syn the porteress' touch, wide open fly ! 
Then enters, 'mongst the champions brave, Odin the lord so high. 

With kindness he salutes them all, for every one be knew ; 
A troop of warriors lately slain had just appear^ in view : 
Their limbswere all besmear'd with blood, deepgasheson their breast; 
They stared as in a dream, and thought : Who could this scene have 

[guest? 

Then Eir advanced ; she follow'd close Odin the chief so great : 
In all their gaping wounds she poured the liquor of the beet ; 
These closed again , changed to slight scars ; then woke the warriors 

[brave, 
And found they were recalVd to life, and rescued from the grave. 

Pale from the fight, a strong old man entered with snowy beard ; 
His skull was cloven by a sword; frightful the gash appeared ; 
But Eir upon his bleeding front, while he before her kneel'd, 
With a strong pressure laid her liand ; the wound that instant heald. 



a 16 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

On a balcony take their stand to view the feats of arms 
The Disarall: what Scald hath power tosingtheirmatchlesdchami&? 
Garlands of oak with their fair hands they.wreath, and cast below 
As trophies in th* arena vast, to grace the victor's brow. 

Starkodder mounted on the roof to view each wondrous sight, 
While Hermod friendly showM the way by evening's rosy light. 
He markM Heidruna the green leaves from th^ ash Yggdrassil crop, 
Which from the earth beyond the roof extends its branching top. 

Not far from Valhall's lofty gate, where Heimdal sentry stood, 
Starkodder the vast bridge of heaven, the gorgeous Bifrost, viewM: 
In its construction precious stones of various hue it blends. 
And, rising in one single arch, o*er all the earth extends. 

Over this bridge, when they descend to earth, the Asar ride 
To sit as judges in the grove, by th^ ash YggdrassiPs side : 
This bridge is dangerous to pass, steep, narrow ; but, like bees 
Upon a wall, the gods contrive to hold on it with ease. 

Southward appears a verdant grove, and there upon a height. 
Resting on azure columns, stands a palace fair and light : 
High beech-trees of the liveliest green encircle this domain : . 
There, to Starkodder Heimdal said, doth lovely Prey a reign ! 

Northward appears a forest black ; on a steep granite rock 
Stands a strong castle, with deep ditch, which any siege could mock; 
Its roof was tiled with copper shields; Trudvang the name it bore: 
There, Heimdal to Starkodder said, dwells the all-powerful Thprl 



CANTO XIX. «n 



The sun now sank beneath the wave, and clear and round the moon 
On Valaskialf , on Folkvang bright, on masave Trudvang shone ! 
Athwart the«cloads.Starkodder saw far d{| a dazzling light : 
*' How nowi^V toHenoDKodthus he said, *' have ye two moons at night ?*^ 

'* The light'thbu takest for a moon," thus answered Hermod mild, 
Is Breidablik ; that mansion's roof with costly pearls is tiled : 
There Asa-Balder uts enthron'd the fleecy clouds among ; 
Hark ! how he chaunts with the white Alfs the dulcet vesper song 1 

'^ And hark 1 what thrilling melody the echoing clouds impart ! 
Like the soft joys of innocence, it melts the coldest heart: 
But in the hall below resound laughter and boisterous glee, 
And like the dove before the hawk, the pious tones give way." 

To Vingolf now they both descend ; there joy tumultuous reigns : 
In lionour of Valfader's name his hem each warrior drains. 
There the good Scalds, who oft the north had gladdened, touch the chord, 
They all like loving brothers sit at Odin^s oaken board. 

A Drapa now, a splendid theme, together they rehearse ; 
With £[lorious choral harmony resounds th' heroic verse : 

'Twas like to many a bunch of grapes, each from a diffVent vine 
Gathered, and now together pressed to form a generous wine. 

Here neither jealousy intrigues, nor envy gnaws the heart ; 
Each hears with deference sincere when others aught impart, 
And each rejoices like a child who lovely flowers beholds, 
When, what his own hath not conceived, another's brain unfolds. 



918 THE GODS OF THB NORTH. 

'« There, nextto Thbr/' thusHermod said, *'Starkodder, isthy seat." 
At tunes throughout the vast saloon flashes a splendour great ; 
It flashes from the shields that hang in rows against the wall ; 
The silver hilts and the steel blades a dazzling ray let fiill. 

When now the mead was drank, and when each Scald had ceased his 
EnterM the scoffer Asa*Lok the jovial guests among ; [song, 

His nature is well-known : now red with insolence he grew, 
And to the mockery of the gods exposed himself anew. 

Though by the greater gods despised and hated by the less. 
Yet often they must needs admire his wit and liveliness ; 
At times his cunning was of use worse mischief to prevent. 
And when buffoonery prevail'd, there was his element. 

But not innocuous were his jokes ; sharp, like the razor's edge. 
Both friend and foe alike they cut, yet 'twas his privilege. 
When circulates the brimming horn and seriousness gives way, 
We sometimes listen to a fool and tolerate his play. 

With Fenris first he play'd, the wolf, whom he in a dark cave 
Of a foul witch begot ; but all the guests with aspect grave 
Beheld the sport; it pleased them not, nor did his laughter help ; 
For all the Asar fear'd the wolf, though he was but a whelp. 

His eyes glared fiercely ; every day his size and strength increased : 
Unwilling Odin in his haU suffered the hateful beast : 
To Skimir, messenger of Frey, he tum*d aside his head, 
Whisp'ring a mandate in his ear ; Skimir the hint obeyM. (2) 



CANTO XIX «1» 

But oow Lok could not fail to see that Fenris was by all 
Abhorr'd and fearM ; without the gate he ledhim from the hall. 
Loud howl'd the wolf ; to earth he hied ; he there a robber found, 
And help'd to murder, while his teeth enlarged the victim's wound. 

Now to the stable hastened Lok by special leave of Thor, 
And brought in one of the white goats that drew the hero's car : 
The bearded bther of the flock was heard -to sigh and groan ; 
It vex'd the reverend goat to play the part of a buffoon. 

With Fnlla's garter at one end Lok by the beard made bst 
The sturdy goat ; the other end he tied to his own waist : 
Now to the goat he tumM his back, and struck him with a thorn ; 
The beast enraged ran at his foe full butt with levelFd horn. 

To a short distance they retired ; now they again fell to ; (3) 
The gods in Valaskialf laughed loud the sport absurd to view. 
This amused Lok ; no shame he felt within his breast ; he thought 
That, while at him they laugh'd, they all were laughing at the goat. 

But such buffoonery soon must Cedl amusement to impart ; 
Loud laughM the mighty gods, 'tis true, but 'twas not from the heart. 
Oft doth a scene absurd and strange the lungs to laughter move. 
E'en when the heart and sense such scenes must ever disapprove. 

Gefion began to frown ; now Thor a sign to Bragur made : 
That silly play offended much the chaste high-minded maid. 
She rose to quit the hall, but Thor whisper'd to Bragur : *' Pray 
Recite, to soothe the virgin's ears, some soul-inspiring lay !" 



280 ''tHE*0^BS"OF the NORTH. 

* 

Theo Bragur tuned his harp and said : '* Now. listen to ray lays ! 
Behold ! I strike the golden. hieCri^in noUje fiefion's praise ! '^ 
At this the maid resumed her | seat ; what female could eschew 
To listen gracious to theiapiQ^^ithat'gpves.her honour due ? 






f; 



I 



■^ 

•*••'« 



)0li(K®# XX^ 






>''7^^"^<. 



BRAGUE^Sv SONG' IN HONOUR OfUeFIOn!'^ 






Whbn the Asar^s numerous band 
From the East to Gauthiod's strand 
Rode, on coursers arm'd in mail, 
Sword in hand, o'er mountain, vale. 
Forest, lake, their march pursuing, 
The proud Jotun race subduing ; 
Gefipn, as a bulrush strait, 
Hied one summer evening late 

To where Svea's fountain flows, 

< 

Where the Jetter-s dwelling rose 
Built of wood ; where Gylffe's hand 
Levied tribute from the land, 
Far as the wave, whose stormy spray 
Scoops through the hills a double bay. 

There while the Scald's poetic fire 
To strains harmonious waked the lyre, 
The mighty chief sat in his hall, 
Surrounded by his champions all. 



nt THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

All lauded the heroic lay, 
And Gefion, who pass'd that way, 
Lured by the harp's melodious sound, 
With sensibility profound 
Listening to each ecstatic note, 
RenuiinM fast rooted to the spot. 

The sons of Gylffe much incline 

To bend the knee at beauty's shrine : 

No sooner they the Disa ^ew'd, 

As listening at the gate she stood, 

They sprang up from their bench ; with prayer 

They earnestly besieged the fair 

To enter in the festive hall, * 

Where she took seat, admired by all. 

Though melancholy was her mien, 
She shed new lustre on the scene : 
Her eyes' bewitching glance could melt 
Each warrior's heart beneath his belt , 
Hearts, which were slow to move before, 
Save when the clarion blew for war. 



And now the Scald had ceased his lay ; 
The harp's last tone had died away : 
Gefion arose, her bosom swelling 
With conscious dignity, repelling 
All hope her favours to obtain : 
As when on silv'ry lake the swan 



CANTO XX. W» 



Doth proud its swelling neck deploy, 
The water feels a thriUing joy 
The bosom downy-white to lave, 
Which with indifference ploughs the wave. 



Thus Gylffe^s warriors Gefion bright 
Behold with wonder and delight. 
And striking on their shields, proclaim 
Loud homage to her spotless name ; 
But with a cold disdain the maid 
Their homage and their vows repaid. 

^' Farewell, ye champions mountain-born ! 

Lo ! to my lips I raise the horn. 

And with the pledge of hydromel 

I bid ye all a long farewell ! 

Now to the grove to gather flowers. 

Late moistened by benignant showers, 

My course I bend, while through the vale 

Yet sounds the plaint of nightingale : 

And when to-morrow's moon shall roU 

In silvery track athwart the pole. 

The daughter of the East again 

Shall join her much-loved sisters' train.'* 

* ^ Nay ! Gefion ! stay with us ! oh stay I 
And when the summer's lengthened ray 
Tinges our hills, thine be the toil 
To plant fresh flowers on Svitbiod's soil. 



«<* THE OOD8 OP THB NORTH. 

Bot if from hence, O goddess bright! 
' Thou art resolv'd to wing thy flight, 
No more will joy or pleasure deign 
To snule on Svea's drear domain/' 



'^ Well then ! your zeal for Gefion prove ! 
And with her on it, drag this grove 
Into the Ocean I 1 the land 
Will deck with flowers ; but it must stand 
An island green 'midst billows blue : 
If not — ^receive my last adieu ! 
Ge6on ye ne'er shall see again, 
O Jetter ! in your proud domain." 

^ ' Let Gefion swear with us to stay, 
Well all submit to Gefion's sway : 
Let graceful Gefion deign to smile, 
We'll straight her fondest wish fulfill. 
Choose the best portion of the land 
Thyself I forthwith the Jetter band. 
Harness^ like iEgir's coursers brave, 
l^iall drag it forth into the wave : 
There as an island shall it stand, 
O goddess lair! at thy command 1'^ 

The Disa now her skill disphiy'd : 
A plough with precious stones inlaid 
She took, and plough'd the grove around, 
With all its trees, a trench profound. 



CANTO XX. 225 

This done, she southward placed a rock 
The billows' utmost ra^pe to mock : 
Through the deep treuch in rushM the main, 
And quicksands followed in its train. 

With joy and pride her bosom swell'd, 
When she her fav'rite grove beheld 
WashM by the ocean's azure spray : 
Next towards the north she formed a bay, 
Protectioi^ ample to afford 
To ships; and calPd it Issefiord. 

To Gefion's car the champions bright 

Yoked themselves, changed to oxen white : 

The grove £ar from the hills they drew. 

And fixed it midst the ocean blue. 

There as an island stands apart 

The continent's most fruitful part I 

And since the grove the billows lave, 

Sealand's (I) the name the Disa gave: 

And future ages all proclaim, 

The island well deserves the name ; 

Since there the finest grove they see 

Gracefully married to the sea. 

Thus Sealund stands ! thus took its birth 

The brightest ornament of earth ! 

A south, with teeming verdure graced, 

r th* bosom of the north enchased I 

Now through the vacant space doth flow 
The wave, in which the heavenly bow 

20 



296 THE OOD8 OF THE NORTH. 

Reflects itself: now vessels sail. 
Where once the car roird through the vale ; 
And fishes swim, where once the trees 
Responded to the evening breeze. 

Then join your voice to Bragur's lays ! 
He strikes the harp in Gefion^s praise I 
Hiul, Gefion ! glorious Disa, hail ! 
Ne*er shall the poef s ardour tail 
To render thee all homage due ; 
Thy power triumphant still we view ; 
For Sealund with each vale and hill 
By Oresund doth flourish still. (2] 



Ci{K®# XX^. 



CONVBaSATION BETWEEN SKIRNIB AND FREY. 



But wheo the moon had fled the rock behind, 
FollowM by Maanegarm the winged fiend, 
Who, constant in pursuit, to human eyes 
Mostly invisible, but in the skies 
Sometimes in form of wolf, when rain pours down, 
Protrudes his head amidst the vapours brown : 
From ocean's bed the sun majestic rose, 
Like blushing Freya with her cheeks of rose, 
When from the bath outstepping, she displays 
(Alone, naught fearing indiscretion^s gaze) 
Her charms voluptuous to the morning chili, 
While on the trees the birds are slumb'ring still. 

Skimir the gallant courier mounts his steed ; 
» Fulla had fiUM his flask with Suttung's mead ; 
Wlule fair Iduna, mindful of the brave. 
To guard his life and health, an apple gave. 
Lo ! thus prepared, he cleaves the liquid sky 
Charged with a mission from Alfader high ; 



228 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

For on that very night was Hermod flown 
(Odin^s own courier) to a distant zone ; 
There to avenge by punishment sublime, 
O Freya ! thy perfidious consort's crime. 



Charged with his errand now must Skirnir ride 
To Dovre*s caverns, where the dwarfs reside ; 
Those smithiS ingenious, who with wondrous art 
Can to all metals various forms impart : 
By Odin's order they were strict enjoin'd 
To forge a fetter, Fenris wolf to bind, 
Subtle and slight, but strong his force to quell, 
And proved and charm'd with many a mystic spell. 
For iron nought avaiPd, nor copper chain 
The dangerous monster's fury to restrain ; 
For such, like singed threads, he burst in twain. 

But as o'er Bifrost bridge he pass*d along. 

Thus Skirnir mused : ^' Methinks, it were not wrong, 

Before I leave the regions of the sky. 

To ascertain, if my own master Frey 

Hath not some mandate for his trusty swain ; 

For though to Odin, king of gods and men. 

We all must bow, and own his sovereign might, 

Yet our own master claims an equal right." 

Thus said, he spurr'd his courser toward the grove 

Of birch-trees, where the Asa loved to rove. 

There Frey, with chin reclining on his hand. 

Was wont to sit, and muse, while o'er the land 



CANTO XXI. 890 

The seed is sown, and with fond hopes elate, 

The husbandmen th' approach of autumn wait. 

But when this time Skirnir his master found 

With pallid hue, immers'd in gprief priifound. 

He wonderM much, and thus exclaim'd aloud ; 

'' How now ? my sovereign 1 thus with sorrow bowM, 

When all creation, deck'd in radiant vest. 

Indulges brighest hopes, which thy behest 

Alone can gratify ; for in thy hand 

The Fates have placed the fecundating wand. 

Which spreads abundant harvests o'er the land. 

But little would the sower's pains avail, 

Didst thou not send unseen through mead and vale 

A swarm of Alfs, the labourer's way to dear, 

The thieving sparrows with their darts to scare, 

And root out all the noxious insect race. 

Which Ue in ambush in each furrow's trace. 

But 'tis in autumn that we most admire 

Thy power, O Asa, when with looks of fire 

Thou gildest bright each waving field of com : 

For when the reaper's scythe at dawn of mom 

Blithesome resounds, thy greatest triumph then 

Is hail'd with rapture by the sons of men. 

'Tis far more cheering to their hearts to hear 

The scythe's shrill sound, than clang of shield and spear, 

To do Thor homage in his proud career." 

^\ Ah ! what avails my boasted power and pride, 
If it can naught effect (thus Frey replied) 



SM THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 

Than causing trees to sboot and corn to grow ? 
What boots my form divine and radiant brow, 
If 1 be not beloved ? my power how vain ! " 
" And art thou not beloved ? " rejoin'd the swain .: 
' ' Doth not all nature at thy altar bend P 
Doth not the mighty Odin call thee friend? 
For Uiee each Disa feels an ardent flame, 
And all the gods thy love fraternal claim. " 

Now Frey began each circumstance to tell 
That him on HUdskiairs bfty tower befel : 
How in the mountain cavern he beheld 
A form, which every other form excell'd, 
An image of (he tmrest and the best, 
That stamp'd itself for ever in his breast. 

ThenSIdmir: "Now doth my loved master prove, 
1 well perceive, tfae mighty power oflove : 
Whoe'er of love's keen arrows feels the smart, 
Freya mth doubts and fears distracts his heart. 
With hand uponbis breast, in wayward fits. 
Despairing of success, the lover sits : 
Yet could he once his soul to action stnun. 
An easy triumph he, perhaps, might gain. 
Why thus despur? Is Gerda thy beloved? 
Cannot she, thinkst thou, by thy prayers be moved T 
Is she not young, and handsome, soft and mild, 
In the first spring of life a flow'ret wild ? 
Thinkst thou a goblin bridegroom doom'd to prove 
The exquisite reward of Gerda's love? , 



CANTO XXI. 231 

5hame were it for a ruler of the skies, 

Should Horse-leg, the rough clown, hear off the prize ; 

Or should a damsel of such wondrous charms 

Languish and pine in Goatrbeard^s shaggy arms. 

Then Frey : ** Could I the maid's consent obtain^ 

Yet fear I Odin, king of gods and men ; 

He would refuse his sanction/' '* Why suppose 

Said Skirnir, ''Odin would thy views oppose? 

To bind the marriage knot consent he gave 

Whilom 'twixt iEgir, monarch of the wave, 

And the perfidious harsh ill-favourM Ran, 

Who spreads her net to drown the race of man. 

And did he not his sanction too accord 

To bind fierce Skada with benignant Niord ? 

How then could his impartial spirit blame 

A better suited match, a worthier flame 

'Twixt thee and Gerda, loveliest mountain dame? 



'' Not always so austere and so sedate 
Trust me, is Odin, as when high in state 
He thrones amidst Valhalla's champions grave : 
He too hath sometimes been love's humblest slave ; 
The lively Freya, with her cheeks of rose, 
Hath oft disturbed that prudent god's repose : 
Then weary of the banquet, and the sight 
Of arm'd Einherier in the mimick'd fight, 
Disguised to earth he oft descends, and there 
Clasps in his fond embrace some mortal fair. 



232 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

^^ Hast thou forgot the time, when Oilin, fired 
With love for Princess Rinda*s charms, attired 
As a laborious smith, once found his way 
To Garderike, where her sire held sway? 
First prudently he strove to gain the fair 
By gifts of iron, gold, and silver rare : 
But she rejected all ; and with disdain 
She smote the cheek of; the presumptuous swain. 
3ut nought rebufTd, again he took the field, 
Like chieftain arm'd mth brazen helm and shield; 
He urged his suit, and met with no success ; 
A second blow chastised his eagerness. 
But since a blow from silken hand of dame 
With no dishonour soils a warrior's name, 
Like oil it served to increase the Asa's flame. 



Once more he to the charge returned, array'd 
This time in guise of lowly waiting-maid : 
He sold his liberty, with fondest care 
And earnest zeal to serve his mistress fair : 
He washed her feet on each revolving night. 
And in the humblest duties felt delight : 
This moved her tender heart : and that relief. 
Which to the hardy smith and plume-clad chief 
She had refused, she voluntary gave 
To the profound devotion of a slave. 



** Still more^of Odin's various loves, in spite 
Of Saga s prudence, can I bring to light, 



CANTO XXI. 233 

Although she graves them on her sable shield 
In mystic runes, from vulgar ken concealM. 
When first was ratified the bond of peace 
Between the Asar and the Vaner race, 
Loud through the mountains of the eastern chain 
Was heard of love and bliss the jocund strain. 
The Vaner damsels with long streaming hair, 
Their forms voluptuous to the girdle bare, 
JoinM in the mazy dance and raisM the song 
To crash of cymbals and the sound of gong. 
The vine's rich juice their cheeks had colourM high 
And gave fresh lustre to each flashing eye ; 
Such thrilling accents from their pouting lips, 
Such melting tones were heard, as might eclipse 
The strain of nightingale, when to the grove 
He lures his mate with blandishments of love. 



^* Now to the deepest glen the nymphs withdrew; 
The Asar close th' alluring prey pursue. 
Heimdal soon vanishM ; Vidar, too, the grave, 
Most taciturn of all the Asar brave, 
Who ne'er his prowess boasts ; then Hermod flew * 
Into the copse, and, some say, Odin too. 
Well, well 1 the transports of that blissful night 
The genial bard engendered, Qvaser (2) hight ; 
His mother was a damsel of sixteen, 
Fair-hair'd, blue-eyed, of loveliest shape and mien; 
She brought him forth amidst the myrtle grove, 
And gave him to the gods, a pledge of love. 



234 THE OODS OF THE NORTH. 

^* He grew to manhood bst, was wise and strong, 
And from his mother leamM the art of song. 
With various talents blest and generous miM, 
He travellM o^er the earth to serve mankind^ 
And much he joyM to place within their reach 
All that lus wisdom or his sldll could teach. 
But malice slumbers not ; at close of day 
It lies in ambush to destroy its prey. 
Qvaser oft wander'd o'er the mountain steep ; 
Two scowUhg dwarfs there kilPd him while asleep ; 
Into a golden vase they pourM his blood, 
From which, with honey mixM, a drink they brewM 
This drink the Scalds* bright science could inspire, : 
And fill man's bosom with poetic fire. 
The vengeance of Valhalla to prevent 
And screen their guilt, the dwarfs a tale invent ; 
They spread abroad that Qvaser they had found 
In the deep flood of his own wisdom drown'd. 
But to conceal their crime they strove in vain ; 
And ample vengeance for his brother slain 
On those malignant dwarfs brave Suttung took ; 
He seized them bodi and bound them to a rock ; 
That rocky by stormy billows lashM, doth stand 
In the mid ocean, distant far from land. 
« As a still further punishment, he left 
The traitors life, of all its joys bereft : 
There haunts them still the ghost of Qvaser slain, 
And hunger gnaws them with eternal pain.'' 
Frey sigh'd, young Skimir smiled, and still his tale 
Continued sprightly : ^' Suttung did not fail 



CANTO XXI. M6 

To seize the vasefillM with the precious juice, 

For well he knew its value and its use ; 

The vase he trusted to no dragon^s care, 

But to his prudent daughter, Gunliod fair. 

Then Odin first conceived the project bold 

Of gaining nuist'ry of that vase of gold : 

He mounted on his courser, Slripner hight, 

And swift descending from Valhalla's height, 

Soon reachMa field, wherearmMwithscythesheview^d 

Nine savage goblins of the Jotun brood, 

Intent, by the broad streaming northern light, 

To cut down all a peasant's com that night ; 

And Odin knew their master, Bauge, dwelPd 

In a huge cave close bordering on the field. 

No deference pay to justice or to right 

The thievish giants ; their sole law is might : 

They rove the world around and laugh to scorn 

The Asar^s golden rules ; the peasant's corn 

They carry off, while he lies fast asleep. 

And, what he sows, those ruthless robbers reap. 

Night of theirforce and fraud conceals each trace, 

For Night herself b of the pant race : 

Her sire, the giant Narf ; an Asa bright, 

Delling, became her husband ; then did Night 

Give birth to honest Day : thus oft arise 

Virtue and grace from ugliness and vice. 

But Night when she o'er earth her ride extends. 

Mounted on Hrimfax, whom she often lends 

To Skada, acts in concert with the brood 

Of giants, and conceals their deeds of blood. 



256 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

But Moon, the graceful child with golden hair 
About her temples, boasts a courage rare, 
And far beyond her sex and age ; 'tis she 
Exposes oft the giants' villany -, 
And when from a dark cloud with radiant head 
Fair Moon emerges, to the rocks they speed 
To hide themselves ; but soon commence again, 
And to their mountain Imr bear off amain 
The fruits and treasures of the luckless swain. 
Then when the husbandman walks o'er the field 
At dawn of day, and views his harvest fell'd 
And all laid waste, he thinks the nightly frost 
Hath caused the mischief and his labours cross'd. 
Then he complains to Frey, but vain his prayer ;^^ 
Frey sigh'd, and gaz'd around with vacant stare. 
Skirnir continued ; still he hoped, forsooth. 
With tales and jests his master's mind to sooth. 
'' But not alone the giants mischief cause, 
The cunning dwarfs too oft infringe the laws ; 
They, when the summer breeze embalms the air, 
In shape of ants and cockchafers repair 
To th' field, and there devour the ears of corn, 
Laughing the wretched peasant's plaint to scorn. 

When Odin now the thievish giants view'd, 

Pity and indignation fired his blood ; 

He took out from his pouch a polished stone, (3) 

Than which for sharp'ning scythes a better one 

Could not be found ; then caU'd out loud and blythe 

^ Which of ye needs a stone to wet his scythe P' 



CANTO XXr. «37 



He threw it higb in air, but as it fell, 
The greedy giants had with rancour fell, 
Disputing for the stone, each other slain, 
And streams of blood incarnadined the plain. 



'* Then Odin towards the mountain hied him strait 
And knockM, with Bolverk's name, at Bauge's gate ; 
He there took servidfe, and with nine men's power 
For the nine reapers household labours bore ; 
But this condition fi&M, Bauge a road 
Should find him to fair Gunliod's abode. 
Now Bauge bored the rock, and Odin blew 
Into the hole, but the dust backward flew 
Into his eyes. The gianfs trick was plain ; 
The hole was not made straight ; but when again 
Bauge his borer used, the god applied 
Quickly his mouth and blew. To th* other side 
Now flew the dust ; the aperture was free ; 
And Odin, in a serpent's form, with glee 
Glides through the rock ; the giant with his steel 
Strikes after, but in vain he strives the snake to kill. 
And Odin, when he reachM the other side, 
Resumed his proper form with conscious pride. 
With snow-white arm beneath her cheek of rose. 
There Gunliod slumbVing lay in deep repose ; 
While the lamp spread a flickering ray around, 
Odin beheld the vase with garlands crownM. 
Odin presents himself, not fiercely now 
Like a wild man, but with majestic brow 



^3S THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 

He Stands ; then with a lover s ardour kneels 
Before the maid, and all his soul reveals. 
His eloquence, his manly beauty gained 
Her heart ; three nights with Gunliod he remain^. 
And oft, while on his mistress* form he gazM, 
She to her lover's lips the mystic vessel raisM. 
Right lustily he drank ; then with his prize 
Triumphant he regained his native skies.'' 



Now Skirnir ceas'd his story, and awhile 
Gazed on his master with an artful smile ; 
Then Frey his silence broke : ' ^ So 1 thus doth love 
An Asa I sensual joys alone their passion move * 
The sweeter fruit of sentiment, I trow, 
The race of Bor and Bure do not know. 
O Skimir 1 did the Fates to Frey accord 
To dwell on Hlidskialfs tower, like ValhaU'slord, 
How fortunate 1 then every mom the sight 
Of Gerda would my ravish'd soul delight. 
This would repay me amply for my sighs 
And for my nightly tears : alas ! there lies 
A barrier insurmountable between 
My love and me : all I dare hope to glean 
Is her dear image, which can ne'er depart ; 
Here, here, it lies, deep buried in my heart. 
Of her bright charms the deep imprinted trace 
Nor time nor circumstance can e'er efface. 
What greater pleasure, Skirnir ! can we prove. 
Than to behold the darling maid we love ? 



CANTO XXI. 889 

Oh yes I there is a pleasure £ar more sweet; 
When looks reciprocal our glances meet, 
And earnest give of future sympathy : 
Oh ! 'tis the most enchanting melody, 
When the sweet voice of the beloved fair 
Whispers '* I love thee" in her lover's ear. 
Yet e'en the tongue can ne'er its happiness, 
With half the ardour, half the force express. 
As doth an eye, whose silent eloquence 
Reveals each thought, and beams with love intense. 



^' Now hie thee swift to the dark giant's land. 

And execute Yalfader's stern command ! 

Procure a fetter forged with mystic spell 

Fenris the wolf to chain, that monster fell ! 

Not difficult the task will prove, methinks, 

For the dwarPs science from no labour shrinks. 

But neither mystic spell nor magic chain 

Can to Valhalla bind my heart again : 

To Gerda solely it belongs ; it flies 

With wings impetuous through the azure skies 

Over Ginnungagap, abyss profound. 

And hovers with delight the mountain fair around. 

But shouldst thou find the dear enchanting maid, 

Tell her what thou hast seen, what Frey hath said! 

Doubtless already me with scorn she views ; 

The Rant's hate the Asar still pursues. 

As for the rest i^e is too wondrous fair. 

Too graceful in her manners, shape and air. 



J 



S40 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Not to expect with righs and homage meet 
A host of lovers kneeling at her feet. 
And if the swain, to whom she plights her vow, 
Is less esteemM hy the whole world below. 
Than is the god— should Gerda preference £^ve 
To him — what then avails my proud prerogative ? 

'^ Farewell ! Now lue thee hence, my Skimir brave ! 

To execute the order Odin gave. 

But on thy master^s woes be silent still! 

E^en could I hope to bend her father^s will, 

Could he, though giant-like to softness steelM, 

From interested views be taught to yield, 

What then ? but little comfort this would prove ; 

The father's power I court not, but the love 

Of his Ceur daughter. O thou Gerda dear 1 

Gouldst thou but view thy ardent lover here 

Immersed in grief profound, thy generous heart 

Some words of comfort would, perhaps, impart : 

Would give asylum to affection's sighs, 

And learn a suitor thus sincere to prize. 

Thus doth the mountain's summit wrapt in snow 

Melt by degrees before the summer's.glow, 

And to a plant ^ves birth, which scents the gale. 

More fragrant than the lily of the vale." 

Thus spoke the god, and sat him down beside 

The brook to weep ; the waters onward glide, 

And, as they flow, receive the lover's tears, 

While mirror-like the stream his beauteous image bears. 



. CANTO XXI. 841 

But Skirnir, who in missions from the god 
So oft had visited the dwarfs* abode, 
Had learnt their various arts ; and now while Frey 
Sat gazing on the stream with mournful eye, 
Skirnir, I say, with sudden impulse took 
A handful of the water from the brook, 
Which the reflection of Frey^s image gave ; 
Into his horn he quickly pour'd the wave, 
And stoppM it with a cork ; then to his side 
Made fast the horn, andgallopM off with pride. 

This artifice by Frey was noticed not; 
Gerda alone absorbed his ev'ry thought. 



21 



Ci{K^# W^* 



faey's plaint at thb fountain. 



O Swain ! who sighest sad with cheek so pale, 
And to the gentle Freya dost oomplain, 
Because thy vows and ardour naught avail 
The love of a proud maiden's heart to gain : 
Because to thee no joys the vernal gale 
Affords : Ah ! hlame not Freya ! she thy pain 
Beholds and shares ; forlorn, a pray to woe 
Herself, her golden tears incessant flow. (1) 



Naught surely can compete with love's delight; 
But love resembles much a northern spring : 
For one day's pure and genial solar light, 
Nine days of sleet and cloud discomfort bring. 
Many the birds whose screams the ear affright. 
But few there are, that can melodious sing : 
While lapwings, sparrows, owlets never fail, 
Seldom is heard the voice of nightingale. 



CANTO XXII. 343 

V 
t 

A graceful maid is rarely to be found ; 

But should the object of thy fond pursuit 

Shine forth to idew with matchless beauty crown'd, 

She may be silly, harsh, or dissolute ; 

But e^en if beauty, virtue, judgment sound, 

All in thy choice unite, what doth it boot ? 

She for another feels a sympathy^ 

And with indifTrence turns her eyes from thee. 



To guarantee the zest complete of love. 
How many things must be on earth combined ! 
First, two hearts which a mutual passion prove : 
Then grace and beauty, with a soul refined : 
Then the moon shining through the beechen grove, 
When the spring greets the earth with zephyrs kind : 
Then meeting without danger or suspense : 
Then the embrace ; and with that — innocence. 



THB JOURNBT OF SKIRNIR/ 



^ow Skirnir, eager his zeal to prove, 
Down Bifrost urges his course amain, 
And, speeding through Hertha's gloomy grove, 
Soon reaches the Giant^s drear domun. 
^Twas like the wind blowing o'er the road, 
Which gate nor barrier hath power to stop : 
'Twas like the blast raging o*er the flood, 
Which lashes to foam the billow's top. 



Now Skimir thought : '' Pitch dark is the night, 
Brakes, briars, and brambles impede my course : 
And the wind and the rain with all their might 
'Gainst the bosom beat of my jaded horse. 
But if no Giant in th' hour of need 
To give me refuge as guest will deign, 
Then Skirnir must on his panting steed 
Return in haste to Valhalla again." 

* Respecting the metre of this Canto, see the aote. 



CANTO XXIII. 245 

To Elivagor he chose the road, 

He came to a fiord, (I) and fain would cross : 

And there at the brink a ferryman stood 

With wrinkled brow, and with aspect cross. 

*' Who art thou, fellow, that standst so grave 

Upright in thy bark ?" thus Skirnir cried : 

'* If thou wilt ferry me o^er the wave, 

rU give thee oatcakes, and herrings beside. 



*^ Upon my shoulder my wallet see ! 

Therein of provisions a store IVe put/' 

Then answer'd the ferryman scornfully : 

^* Fine horseman thou, with thy shoeless foot ! (-2) 

A woollen kirtle is all thy treasure. 

Yet thou talkst like a lord of wealth and power. 

Ha ! thinkst thou slaves to thy will and pleasure 

Us Giants to find at the midnight hour ?" 



SKIRNlR. 



Steer hither thy bark 1 thou grumbling wight ! 
Thy name and thy lineage quick declare I 
Why stand there idle the livelong night, 
And lose every chance to ^rn a fare ? 



HARBARD. 



A Nidding is he who denies his name ; 
Yet were I base as the torrent's scum. 



U6 THB O0D$ OP THE NORTH. 

My birth to reveal Vd feel no shame : 

'Tis not such as thou shalt make me dumb. 



SKIRIIIR. j^*^" 

I seek not to cross the fiord, I swear, 
To teach thee manners and language meet : 
But thou hast perchance a sister Cedr, 
Who would more courteous a stranger greet 
Or thou art linkM to a beauteous bride, 
Who would not disdain on a youth to smile : 
Then ferry me quick to the other side ! 
I £ain would commune with her awhile. 



HARBARD. 

Aye I aye 1 our females are smart and fair ; 
That Odin himself must needs confess : 
I only wish more renownM they were 
For constancy and for gentleness. 
If in search of beauty thou makest thy trip, 
ThouUt meet with dames that will please thee well : 
Bnt beware lest a kiss from the wife^s soft lip 
Be repaid by a kiss from the husband's steel ! 



SKIRfflR. 



Like dogs forsooth are your mountain brood. 
Envious and snarling and quarrelsome ; 



CANTO XXllI. 241 

» 

Who to other creatures refiis|B the food, 

Which they themselves can never consume. 

Incapable of true love are ye, 

Yet ye bin would exact return of love : 

Ye seek not to hide your inconstancy, 

Yet expect your matrons should constant prove. 



H4BBARD. 



Thou hast talk'd enough : *tis an envious theme 
Now rest thee, and quench thy thirsty and eat ! 
But ere I ferry thee o'er the stream, 
Thou must proof exhibit of talent meet.| 
No fare from travelers I'm wont to take ; 
But if they cannot give anstt^ers good 
To every question 1 chuse to make, 
Down at once they sink in the dark blue flood. 



And now the gobtin began to ask 
Young Skirnir about the orbs of heaven : 
What various names ('twas no easy task) 
To the sun and moon and stars were given : 
To earth and water, to fire and air. 
To plants and trees, to the wind and rain : 
And what the terms expressive were, 
Which all their properties explain. 



250 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Fresh questions the boatmaa grave proposed, 
But the answers of Skirnir never fail« 
Of day and 6i night the names he posed, 
And those bestowM on corn and ale. 
Then Harbard said : '^ Ne^er met my eyes 
A man with wisdom so profound : 
Yet Gestures riddles, 1 surmise, 
Will far beyond thy reach be found/' 



Grim Harbard now unmoored his bark, 
And briskly Skirnir steppM on board ; 
For naught he valued the Giants dark, 
And felt secure with his trusty sword. 
And though the frightful boatman stared 
As stiff as a corpse with his evil eye, 
Yet not a whit was the hero scared. 
For his witchcraft all he could well defy. 



But Harbard soon lays down his oar, 
For lo I the skiff no guidance needs : 
Steady it nears the mountain shore. 
Urged by the stream, which upwards speeds. 
Unlike all other streams this wave, 
Which from the mountains take their source, 
And toward the sea, their common grave, 
Flow downward with unerring course. 



CANTO XXII!. 251 

Swift gliding on the wizard brook, 
They reach a drear and barren spot, 
Where dews in vain bathe the naked rock. 
Nor plant nor blade of grass takes root. 
No bird's soft carol here fills the sky, 
All nature here seems a lifeless corse ; 
Naught is heard but the owl, which flitting by 
Assails the ear with warnings hoarse. 



'Twas night : the earth in frost was bound : 

Thick flakes of snow from heaven descend : 

Rising on every side around, 

Huge ice-bergs seem their course to fend : 

The shaggy beard of Harbard froze, 

And icicles his ringlets deckM : 

But naught could Skimir discompose ;. 

On him the cold had no effect. 



*Twas day : a torrent rustling through 

A drear and sandy desert flow'd ; 

The wind like breath from furnace blew ; 

The sun was veiPd by sultry cloud ; 

A thirsty buffalo its snout 

Protruded from the tepid wave': 

Yet scorching heats and vapours naught 

Affect the nerves of Skirnir brave. 



256 THE OODS OF THE NORTH. 

His eyes are four, and his legs are eight, 
And his knees exceed his body in height. 



SKIRNIB. 



I would not as model of beauty cite 
The spider ^ yet he's an industrious wight; 
He 's thrifty too ; and from his own breast 
He weaves his woof, and he builds his nest. 



6BSTCR. 



Twas black as a raven,'and bright as a shield. 
And sharp as a spit, as it lay on the field, 
But lately it glowM with an ardent flame, 
But now like the grave it is cold an<ltame. 



SKIRNIR. 



*Thou sawst the lava from Hecla flow, 
Which in the sun's beam so bright did glow ; 
But o'er snow-clad fields meandering down. 
It ceased to flow, and it tum'd to stone. 



GKSTIR. 

Of a white-hair'd female I've been told. 
Who well knows how white balls to mould ; 
Yet hath this female never a hand : 
This riddle, pray ! dost thou understaiM P 



CANTO XXIII. 157 



SKIBNIR. 



Tis the long-Decked swan with its colour white, 
Who loves to sail on the lake so bright : 
No hands hath she, but her yellow feet 
Can give to her eggs the figure meet. 



GBSTl^R. 



A corpse sat riding a corpse upon, 

And though without life the steed moved on ; 

Across the river it speeded fast, 

And stopped on the opposite bank at last. 



skirhib. 



On the ice lay a horse deprived of breath. 
And on it an ea^le frozen to death : 
On the drifting ice the courser sped 
Across the stream, although it was dead. 



GESTDR. 

Who is it in ashes sleeps like a slave, 
And seems neither life nor vigour to have? 
Yet when ^tis angry, and throws off its mask, 
O ! then its mercy His vain to ask. 

SKIRNIA. 

In the midst of ashes the glimmering spark 

No one ever deigns to notice or mark : 

22 



868 THE^'GODS OF THB NORTH. 

Yet should it escape, and flame abroad, 

Then woe to each straw-roord dwelling of wood I 

GBSTUR. 

Who is that wizard with doak of grey 
That speeds o^er forest and stream his way ? 
Who flies 'fore the wind, and not from the lance, 
And darkens the sun's beneficent glance ? 

SKIBRIB. 

1 hy riddle is easy, O Gestur blind ! 
'Tis the cloud compels the sun to yield : 
jtut Niord comes riding upon the wind. 
And the cloud in turn must quit the field. 

GESTCa. 

What beast is that in yonder field 
Whose house protects him like a shield? 
Toad-like in form, his house of horn 
May laugh the serpent's tooth to scorn. 

SKIEHIB. 

The tortoise t&ou must mean, Vm sure ; 
Beneath lus shell he sits secure : 
Happy the chief who takes the field, 
Guarded by such a powerful shield I 



I 



CANTO XXIil. 259 



GBSTCB. 



Who are those lively females, say ! 
In summer clad in hue of clay, 
But when stern winter hovers in sight, 
They flaunt in bridal robes of white ? 



SKIBNIB. 



Thou speakst ol partridges^ 1 guess ; 
While winter lasts, white is their dress ; 
Like bears, their coats aside they fling. 
And brown, like clay, become in spring. 



GBSTUm. 



What nymphs are those, who speed away. 
Unmarried, to their dying dieiy ; 
While caps on their dark locks are worn. 
And flowing trains their backs adorn? 



SKIRNIB. 



Thou meanest sure the fwimes of ocean. 
Which winds so easy put in motion, 
But to a speedy end they come ; 
Their joy is naught but froth and scum. 



OBSTUB. 



Who plunges oft in the sea profound, 
And joys with tooth to seize the ground ? 



MO THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 

Who saveth many a chieftain good 
From dangers dire hy wind or flood ? 

SKIBNIR. 

This riddle doth, O wizard Mind ! 
With thoughts suhlime inspire my mind : 
The anchor surely thou dost mean, 
Emblem of Hope to mortal men. 

GBSTIB. 

What guests Are those, that in silence drain 
A cup, which unemptied doth still remain? 
Though the guests in silence their bellies fill, 
The cup itself makes a clamour shrill. 

SKIRHIR. 

Each little/?^ abstidns from noise, 
When he his mother's milk enjoys : 
But never the mother can silence keep, 
She grunts for pastime loud and deep. 

6BSTVR. 

Thy wits will fail thee, I surmise, 
Shouldst thou perchance a monster meet, 
Who boasts ten tongues and twenty eyes, 
With twice fiye tuls, and forty feet. 



CANTO XXUI. 'iei 



SKIRNIR. 

Thy frightful beast, O Gestur blmd ! 
Can with no terrors fill my mind: 
The pregnant saiv be pleased to slay 
That stands by yonder trough, I pray t ^' 

The sow was slain ; such was her doom ; 
They counted the pigs in the mother^s womb : 
Skirnir, in troth, had guessed aright, 
For lo ! nine farrow appearM in sight. 

The news threw Gestur into fits ; 
Too great for him was this mental shock : 
Changed to a statue there he sits 
For aye, upon that fatal rockl 

ft 

Now wagged their tails, were mild and tame 
The dogs, so fierce and wild before : ' 
When Skirnir to the mountain came, 
Wide open flew the cavern door : 

And in went Skirnir, fearless swain. 
His master^s errand to fulfil : 
Of peril reckless and of pain, 
He felt he was an Asa still. 

Through the rock^s windings intricate 
Without a torch he found the road ; 
He reachM an open silver gate, 
Near which a stream o^er diamonds flow'd. 



©fHK®® fl^JE'F* 



gbbda's loyb. 



Skibnir the open silver portal viewed, 

And through an archway straight his course pursued : 

The passage, cut through ooal, and poUsh'd bright. 

Gave to the traveller sufficient light. 

But soon, when he some paces onward sped, 

Again the starry vault shone o'er his head. 

To a court-yard he came ; and there his eyes 

Met with a sight that fillM him with surprize : 

For there, instead of ducks and hens, a brood 

Of snakes and lizards crawPd about for food, (1) 

Which from her apron's fold a maiden threw, 

And caird them to be fed in accents strange and new. 

But all at once the maid, when she espied 

The swain, rush'd back behind a porch, and cried 

Stoutly for help : her speech brave Skirnir naught 

Could comprehend; 'twas Finnish, as he thought. 

A numerous train of carles and maidens, scared 

At the shrill sound, stept forth and round them stared. 

Skirnir observM them close : their stature short 

And squab ; their visage sallow ; coarse, lank, swart 



CANTO XXIV. 263 

Their hair ; siaaU eyes that with no meaning glow ; 

Nostrils compress'd ; a forehead flat and low ; 

Their fiagers, like dried carrots, long and lean ; 

Awkward their gait ; ignoble all their mien : 

Their looks betray, so lustreless, so tame, 

Their portion scant of the celestial flame : 

In Finnmark and in Greenland such a race 

May still be found, devoid of soul or grace. 

^< Now help me, Thor I** quoth Skirair, in despite : 

*' Hath my good master lost his senses quite ? 

Is then his love a witch like one of these. 

Whose aspect bare the warmest blood would freeze ? 

Lovers blind, they say, but madness 'twere, forsooth, 

For such a hero in the bloom of youth 

To pair off with a damsel so uncouth.'^ 

Thus musing towards the porch he cast a glance, 

And there beheld from 'midst her train advance 

The beauteous Gerda : wonder and delight 

Enchant his soul at such a vision bright ! 

He stood entranced, and dumb : e'en so doth stand 

The humble swain, when at his lord's command 

He ploughs the earth, and turning up the mould. 

Discovers fill'd with coins a vase of gold. 

Now could he well conceive his master's flame, 

For ne'er his eyes beheld a lovelier dame : 

Not golden-hued her locks, like those which deck 

The brow of Freya ; down her ivory neck 

Part flow in ebon ringlets, part entwine 

With many a glossy wreath her front divine : 



864 THE OODS OF THE NORTH. 

Not heavenly blue her eyes, Mke those which grace 

The lofty females of the Asar race ; 

But like two garnets dark they fervent beam, 

And fix the heart with soul-subduing gleam. 

In just proportion every feature shone, 

And all combinM to form a paragon. 



Now Skimir, when the power of speech again 
He felt, address'd the bir, and to explain 
His mission straight b^^ ; but with disdain 
Hasty she answerM : '' To thy lord return ! 
And tell him, Freiy for me may vainly burn. 
Ne'er let him hope to touch my heart, still less 
The mountain damsel in his arms to press : 
I hate him ; is he not of Asar race 9 
And can we e'er forget the dire disgrace 
Heap'd on us giants ? by their mystic spells 
Our Utgard-Lok in gloomiest caverns dwells. 
Yet is his prison vast ; we still can boast 
A world more glorious than the one we've lost. 
We hold more treasures in our grots profound, 
Than on the surface of the eatth are found. 
With ether's glitt'ring orbs let Odin toy ; 
In frothy billows M^v seek his joy ; 
Frigga in fading flow'rets boast her choice ; 
The AUs in unsubstantial air rejoice : 
But we possess fire, metals, predous stones, 
At our command the fierce volcano groans : 
We need but nod, as the proud courser shakes 
His mane, earth with a fev'rish motion quakes : 



CANTO XXIV. «65 

Walls, castles, towns are leveiPd with the ground, 
And forests sink in watery wastes profound. 
Though Odin in Valhalla boast his might, 
Lok hath an elder and superior right, 
And earth still owns him lord : but think 1 think ! 
The time will come when all your power shall shrink : 
Your race expire ; Valhall in flames be hurPd : 
Though now ye vainly dream to rule the world. *^ 



Now to fair Gerda answerM Skimir mild : 
'' Who taught thee such conceits P thou lovely child ! 
Not from thy own conception comes thy speech ; 
Too innocent thy heart such flights to reach : 
For Utgard-Lok thou knowst not, ne'er hast seen, . 
With hair upright like quills and swarthy mien : 
This from thy father thou hast learnt, I ween. 
'Tis well ; that thy opinions are the same 
As his, who shall thy filial reverence blame ? 
Yet think again ! but distantly art thou 
Allied with Utgard-Lok, who reigns below : 
Naught with that chief in common dost thou share ; 
He, frightful to behold ; thou, wondrous fair. 
Like rose-bud thou, fembalm the air designM ; 
Like deadly nightshade he, to blast mankind. 
Yet oft the virtues of a child suffice 
To expiate her £Bither*s crimes and vice : 
From unlike sources various products spring ; 
Joy sometimes grief ; misfortune bliss doth bring. 
Between the sand runs not the muddy stream 
So long, till purified it shows a gleam 



i66 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Like that of diamond ? in its surface bright 

The maidens then to view their forms delight. 

From mould impure sweet flowers their birth derive, 

Yet lift their heads in air, and fragrant thrive. 

Now let the rose of love thy front entwine, 

And with earth's brightest jewel heaven combine !" 



Now Gerda thus repUed in softened tone : 

^' Thy speech is courteous and discreety 1 own : 

With zeal and eloquence dost thou fulfill 

The task imposed thee by thy sov'reign's will : 

So now depart ! but first, I pray thee, taste, 

Thy strength to renovate, our night's repast, 

Then quick returning to thy bright domain 

Inform thy anxious lord, his suit is vain. 

Tell him, however prudent, smooth and kind 

Thy words, they naught have influenc'd Gerda's mind. 

Stout champions, brave in war, our mountains yield, 

Chiefis, whom in power the Asar ne'er excell'd : 

Should such a chief one day his passion prove 

For me, and bend my heart to mutual love, 

Then will the mountain nymph with joy and pride 

Accept his hand, and hail the name of bride. 

Here in my native vales content 1 live ; (2) 

'Midst mountains high, and fountains clear 1 thrive. 

A princess too by birth, born to command, 

Among the giant race pre-eminent 1 stand. . 

And, trust me! not so humble or so low 

Doth Gerda feel, as with submissive brow 



CANTO XXIV. 2«7 



T^intrude herself amongst the gods on high ; 
To meet contempt from every Disa^s eye, 
Who hold my birth too mean, myself too base 
To form alliance with the Asar race.'* 



'' Therein thou dost the fair Asynior wrong ; 

(Thus Skimir answered with persuasive tongue) 

Pride, arrogance prevail amongst manldnd, 

But in a Disa's soul ne'er harbour find. 

The features grand that mark the gods on high 

Are virtue, wisdom, and simplicity, 

Not birth ; since 'tis well known the gods among. 

That Thor and Odin both from nothing sprung, 

Like insects, at Alfader's nod ; though now 

On Valhalla throne they sit with radiant brow." 

To him replied the lively Gerda : '^ Love, 
For what we know not, we can never prove. 
1 know my native vale, each rock, each field. 
But Frey or Valhall ne'er my eyes beheld. 
Me hath he never seen ; whence springs his flame 
At once so ardent for the mountain dame P 
Methinks, to tell thee truth, my gentle swain ! 
All goes not right in thy fond master's brain." 

And now his master's actions and his £ate 

Did Skimir circumstantially relate : 

How he ascended HlidskialP^ lofty tower, 

And what from thence he view'd in Gerda'i» bower : 



<70 THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 

Id th' hollow of ber hand she caught the wave 
To cool her purple cheek, her front to lave ; 
But when she view'd the image bright of Frey 
Reflected in the wave, a piercing cry 
She gave, and started back with fear assail'd ; 
Then blushing, cross-ways o*er her bosom held 
Her arms, and catching up her robe in haste. 
Around her beauteous body wound it fast. 
But soon to admiration changed her fear, 
And to her mind the stratagem was clear. 
Wrapped in her garment to the neck, she flew 
Once more the image beautiful to view : 
The form divine of the enchanting god 
Melted the maiden's heart, and fired her blood : 
What majesty displays his forehead high ! 
What tender mournful smiles beam from his eye 
Of fire I his bosom seems f exhale a sigh : 
'Twas meant for Gerda ; from his polish'd brow 
Adown his ivory neck the golden tresses flow : 
With hand placed on his heart he seems to say ; 
^^ Here Gerda reigns with undisputed sway !*' 
Pensive awhile she stood ; nor was aware 
That down her damask cheek had rolfd a tear 
Into her lover's mouth : an ardent flame, 
O wonder 1 from the gelid water came, 
And enter'd deep her heart : now with a sigh. 
O'er the vase leaning, she exclaim'd : '^ O Frey ! 
Then sudden started back once more, afraid, 
Some prying witness nught her bower invade : 
But when secure that she alone was there, 
She oft bow'd down to kiss the image fair. 



CANTO XXIV. 271 

It vanish'd now within the eddying wave, 

Which had the power thy purple mouth to lave, 

But not to cool thy lips, O virgin bright ! 

But when the water clear again in sight 

Brought back the image of the god beloved, 

Reflection deep the heart of Gerda moved. 

Seldom with greater care explores the sage 

The vast conceptions that his mind engage, 

Than doth the deep-enamourM maiden trace 

Each separate feature of her lover's face ; 

O'erlooking, while each beauty glads her heart. 

In favour of the whole, each faulty part. 

But here must Gerda search for faults in vain ; 

Perfect was Frey ; without one flaw or stain 

His form ; a god, a prince amongst the Asar train. 

Now vanished all her pride ; she now became 

Soft as a dove, and gentle as a lamb : 

Now slides her 'kerchief from her ivory neck ; 

The air was warm ; no fears her passion check. 

*^ This image, by the waves' reflection made, 

This image cannot see," she blushing said : 

^' 1 cannot rest enjoy, until 1 lave 

My arms and bosom in the cooling wave." 

Thus said, her tunic from her breast she threw. 
And stood with half her charms exposed to view : 
'Twas thus, as poets tell, fair Embia stood. 
When bursting from the tree her Askur first she view'd. 
Now on her couch she fain would court repose. 
But strove in vain to sleep ; full oft she rose 



I 



37« THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

To look into the basin standing nigh, 

And contemplate the much-iovM form of Prey. 

At length the gentle Siofna, who unseen 

'Midst Gerda's train had enterM, and the scene 

Had witness'd) felt compassion for the maid, 

And waved her poppy garland o'er her head : 

She closed her eyelids with her magic art, 

And sent delightful dreams to gladden Gerda's heart. 



»oa»< 



CfIKC# W^< 



SKIRlfIB FULFILS HIS ERRAND.* 



When Skirnir awoke at the morning light, 

(The sunbeams redden the sky) 
With friendly mien, ail with brass bedight, 

The Giant his couch stood by ; 

Like a Guldbrand pine so tall, so strong ; 

(The birds on the trees sing sweet) 
In his hand he bore an iron pole long, 

And Skirnir he came to greet. 

His daughter stood near him with witching look ; 

(On the flowVets the dew-drops shine) 
As the ivy around the gnarled oak, 

Thus did Gerda her sire entwine. 

A cup of drink for Skirnir he bore ; 

(The sunbeams redden the sky) 
^' Before,'^ quoth he, ^^ thou leavest my door, 

Hear, and take with thee my reply I 

* Respecting the metre of this Caoto, see the note. 

23 



«7i THB GODS OF THE NORTH. ^ 

^' Young Prey loves dearly my daughter bright; 

(The birds on the trees sing sweet) 
And if 1 have read in her soul aright, 

She thinks him a consort meet. 

'^ But thou knowest, without her father^s yea, 
(On the flow'rets the dew-drops shine) 

Tis ail labour lost ; but, the truth to say, 
I to favour this match incline. 

*' But goods must be given in change for goods ; 

(The sunbeams redden the sky) 
And heretofore ^twixt Giants and Gods 

Hath not flourished much amity. 

^' Young Frey hath a sword, the best i' the north, 
(The birds on the trees sing sweet] 

And Gerda, methinks, is that sword well worth ; 
So on just conditions Vl\ treat. 

« ' When the heart once loves with fervour and truth , 
(On the flow'rets the dew-drops shine) 

In war no longer delights the youth ; 
He sighs at his mistress' shrine. 

** Let Frey then give me his mystic sword I 

(The sunbeams redden the sky) 
My daughter dear will I then accord 

As consort to him for aye. 



CANTO XXV. f75 

<^ But if he refuse to cede the glaive, 

(The birds on the trees sing sweet) 
The hardest rode that repels the wave 

He might just as well entreat.** 

With this answer the swain rode homeward bound, 

(On the flow'rels the dewnlrops sUne) 
And returning, shorter the road he found 

Than in coming, ye may divine. 

As he gallopM once more o*er the flow*ry mead, 

(The sunbeams redden the sky) 
He thought, by the rustling his falchion made, 

Of Odin the lord so high. 

The magic fetter came o'er his mind 

(The birds on the trees sing sweet) 
That was destined Penris the wolf to bind : 

Then he jumpM from his courser fleet, 

And began to climb up on Elver-boy : 

(On the flowerets the dew-drops shine) 
And there two dwarfs he perceivM with joy , 

Fit to execute his design. 

There they sit, and enjoy the morning breeze ; 

(The sunbeams redden the sky) 
They love to rest under branching trees, 

But from the sun's glare they fly. 



27« THB GUD8 Of THB NORTH. 

And oft they dance on the humid grass, 

(The birds on the Irees sing sweet) 
And joy the mystic circle to trace 

On the turf with their nimble feet* 

« 

When Skirnir met them, he bared his sword, 
(On the flowerets the dewnlrops shine) 

And thus address'd them with threatening word : 
*' Hear me, little masters mine 1 

'^ By Odin's order I crave your aid 

(The sunbeams redden the sky) 
For Fenris vifM a fetter to brud ; 

This instant your labours plyl 

*' If not, 1 will shiy ye both, 1 swear." 
(The birds on the trees sing sweet) 

The little men, how they shook with fear ! 
They scarce could stand on their feet 

They blink like mice with their little eyes. 

(On the flowerets the dew-drops shine) 
'' Nay! put up thy sword I '' each Dwarf replies; 

'^ Behold ! here's the magic twine I 

*' We heard of the order that Odin gave, 

(The sunbeams redden the sky) 
And the very best cord shall Odin have 

To bind his arch-enemy. 



CANTO XXV. 277 

'^ This fetter was forged, O Skirair, heart 

(The birds on the trees sing sweet) 
Of the beards of woman ; the nerves of bear ; 

Of the noise of a kitten's feet ; 

*' Of the breath of birds ; of fishes* scum ; 

(On the flowrets the dew-drops shine) 
Of the roots of rocks ; with finger and thumb 

Have we fuU'd this wondrous line." 

Now from them the swain took the magic chain, 

(The sunbeams redden the sky} 
And the Dwarfs they fled to their grots again, 

And Skirnir vaulted on high. 

Now Bifrost appears with its brilliant sheen ; 

(The birds on the trees sing sweet :) 
Its tints enliven the sky serene 

The returning chief to greet. 

Like a bird in spring brave Skirnir flew 

(On the flowVets the dewnlrops shine) 
And Valhallanew much he joy'd to view, 

And partake of Sahrimner's chine. 

And now he relates to Odin and Frey 

How their mandates he fulfill'd ; 
Odin smiled on the swain with a grateful eye, 

Frey^s bosom with rapture thrill'd. 



t7S TnB OOD6 OP THE NORTH. 

Praise and honours on SIdrnir overflow ; 

What pleasure in Valhall reigns! 
For Frey shall now be freed from his woe, 

And Fenris be bound in chains. 



THB WOLF FBNRIS AND TTR. 



What joys Valhalla^s realm pervade ! 
In brilliant nuptial dress array'd, 
A last iarewell bids Gerda now 
To forest, rock, and vale below. 
Towards Bifrost bridge ascends the fair ; 
Like shooting star she cleaves the air. 
On heaven's exterior bulwark stand 
In pride of place th* Asynior bland : 
And when their scrutinizing eye 
Survey'd the darling choice of Frey, 
As full in Asgard's view she came, 
Vanished at once each latent flame 
Of envy, suUenness, and pride, 
And aU admired the graceful bride. 
Her glossy ringlets ebon dark 
A contrast not unpleasing mark 
With the bright locks of golden hue, 
Which down the Disar's shoulders flow. 



2H0 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Tbey welcome her with tones of love, 

And lead her straight to Freya's grove : • 

Gluing to Gerda's lips of rose 

Her own, what joy each Disa shows ! 

And every Asa courts the bliss 

Her well-turned lily hand to kiss. 

Of Prey's content I need not speak, 

Therein must fail my harpings weak. 

He who hath courted, and hath known 

What 'tis to call his maid his own, 

He knows and feels it too ; while naught 

Can by the art of Scald be taught. 

But such sensation, youth ! if thou 

Yet knowest not, go learn it now I 

And when in thy fond maiden's arms. 

Thou gloatest on her radiant charms, 

And feelst 'twere primest ecstacy 

Or thus to live, or thus to die. 

Then wouldst thou know, and couldst reveal 

The joys that Frey and Gerda feel. 



Here ends my song of love ; too soon 

My harp must sound with difiPrent tone : 

Oft from the lay sweet echoes spring. 

As from the little bird in spring. 

When, flutt'ring through the beechen grove. 

He fills the air with notes of love. 

Oft too its tones the ear assail 

With sound as harsh as that of whale, 



CANTO XXYI. 2«1 

When he, through ice-bergs struggling, blows 
And snorts amain with giant throes. 
Like foam, the words then hurried fly, 
, Which from his nostrils mounts the sky, 
And forms a column gleaming bright 
Amidst the lurid clouds of night. 
The sweetest plant of joy beneath 
Lurks oft, alas I the germ of death ! 
Misfortune soon its power assumes ; 
And 'midst the liveliest joys and fumes 
Of pleasure on the marriage night 
Intrudes with livid face, Affright ! 
True, shouts of joy Valhalla shodk ; 
But sudden, springing from a nook, 

Fenris the wolf, with eye of flame, 
Unwelcome guest, to the banquet came : 
He paced around with fiendish grin; 
Snapping at every Asa's chin : 
And oft with unremitting spite 
The Disar's legs he strove to bite. 



But Odin, weary of this bane, 
Possessing now the mystic chain 
Wherewith to bind the hateful beast, 
To Heimdal whisper'd his behest ; 
And quick transferred the magic band 
Into that faithful Asa's hand. 
Heimdal, he knew, had skill and wit ; 
To cope with Fenris none more fit : 



282 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

« 

And next to Lok he boasts the pow'r 
In jesting to beguile the hour. 
The wit of Heimdal, void of hate 
Or malice, bioom'd like violet : 
But not innocuous Loptur^s jest, 
Like thorn, it lacerates the breast. 
Heimdaller, holding now the band 
Slender as bowstring in his hand, 
Approached the wolf, and with a smile : 
''Let us," said he, *' the time beguile, 
Since, banishM to the realm of Hel, 
Sorrow and hate have bid farewell 
For ever to Valhalla's court, 
With some diverting manly sport 1 
In honour of Prey's nuptial feast 
Let each some art that suite him best 
Exert to please the gods! and thou, 
My wolf! thy feats of strength mayst show : 
For deeds of strength they all admire ; 
And thou must, sure, the prize acquire.'' 



'' Yes !" grinn'd maliciously the wolf : 
^' What thou hast said is true enough : 
The hammer, when by strength or skill 
Unexercised, is useless still. 
But first allow me to demand, 
What means that fetter in thy hand 7 
Thou Asa with the golden tooth ! 
Wouldst bind me like a dog, forsooth ?" 



' CANTO XXVr. 283 

^* He, who hath power himself to free, 

Cannot be fetter'd easily : 

The slave is bound ; but in the hand 

Of strength an honourable band 

Becomes the fetter:" (thus replied 

Heimdaller.) ^' And since His thy pride 

The strongest iron bars to gnaw 

In two, as if Hwcre so much straw, 

Permit me, to afford delight 

To Odin and the Disar bright, 

To bind thee with this brittle chain, 

Which thou canst surely bite in twain." 



And now the wolf began to look 

Around him for his father Lok ; 

But all in vain ; no Lok was there ; 

The hateful beast then scowlM with fear, • 

And sunk his tail, and showM his tooth, 

And loH'd his tongue from his frothy mouth. 

Then howl'd he forth in tones of spite : 

*^ 1 will not thus be bound to-night : 

Go thy way, artful Heimdal ! go ! 

Methinks, it is not needful now 

On such a cord my strength to use, 

Thor, Frey, and Odin to amuse. 

On bars of brass or iron they 

Have seen me oft my strength display. 

If forged' by common art that cord, 

No pleasure would such feat afford : 



«84 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

But if by magic spell 'twere made, 
Then foully were the wolf betray'd." 

Heimdaller blush'd : but Asa-Tyr, 
The youthful page devoid of fear, 
When HeimdaPs cheek so red he viewed, 
In anger bit his lips to blood. 
He griev'd to see an Asa droop, 
Unable with the wolf to cope, 
And from the contest forced to fly 
In silence and humility. 

To humble the malignant beast, 

Himself now enterM in the list, 

And cried aloud : '* Come, wolf! behold ! 

My hand as hostage thou shalt hold ! 

While round thy limbs the cord is laced, 

Within thy mouth shalt it be placed, 

And lying at thy mercy there, 

Nor trick nor fraud hast thou to fear.'' 

On Tyr's presumption every god 

Astonish'd look'd : he tranquil stood. 

Now Thor thus whisper'd : ^* Youthful friend ! 

What rashness ! what dost thou pretend ? 

Thy courage, certes, I admire. 

But naught a hero can aspire 

To do without his hand." * ' No fear 

1 feel, thou cautious one !" said Tyr. 



CANTO XXVi. 285 



^^ Thy counsel sage 1 need not now ; 
Two hands, perhaps, requirest thou, 
But thou sbalt see, and frankly own, 
That Tyr can do with one alone.'' 

Thus said, his dexter band the youth 
Into the wolf's wide-gaping mouth 
Undaunted thrust : the wolf is bound 
With the dwarfs' cord his limbs around. 
And now to loose or burst the chain 
He struggles hard, but all in vain : 
Since naught bis utmost powers avail, 
The Asar laugh to see him quail. 
All laugh'd, excepting Asa-Tyr ; 
The sport, alas 1 hath cost him dear, 
For, bitten from the wrist, his hand ^ 
In Fenris' bloody jaws remain'd ! 

But the youth, still undaunted, thrust 
The stump into a heap of dust, 
And stretching out his arm on high. 
He shouts with voice that rends the sky : 
*' Now first my strength innate I feel ; 
Hard was the trial, yet 'tis well. 
Now to Vaulunder's forge I'll go. 
And he will make for Tyr, 1 know, 
A hand of iron, fit to wield 
Or glaive or mace i' th' bloody field : 
What foes will dare the chief environ, 
Whose hand and glaive are both of iron ? 



»» 



«M THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 

Thus said, he left in haste the hall, 
Much pitied by the Disar all. 
They thought : *' O what a valiant youth ! 
Thorns fame he will eclipse, forsooth." 
But Gerda's thoughts alone on Frey 
Were fixM ; both breathM a tender sigh. 
And hied them to the shady grove 
To revel in the joys of love. 



On Thor now Odin east a look ; 
Thor silent stood ; then Odin spoke : 
*' This is too much I isU then our doom 
Brutal as giants to become ? 
O rueful act I what boots, my friend, 
Courage by reason unrestrained ? 
Lost is thy hammer in the wave, 
And Frey hath giv^n away his glaive. 
That glaive which caused a mortal chill, 
And whose bare look sufficed to Idll ; 
Now in the mountain cave it lies, 
And ^ants learn its worth to prize. 
True, the wolf Fenris is trepannM, 
But Tyr hath lost his dexter band ; 
Ran in the ocean rules her lord, 
And Skada shares the power with Niord. 



)) 



Thus said, A»-Odin slowly rose ; 
His robe around his limbs he throws : 



CANTO XXVI. f87 

Vingolf he leaves with gloomy miod, 
But Asa-Thor remains behind. 
He sits with hand beneath his chin. 
And eyes t^e wolf with looks of spleen, 
But both keep silence : in the hall 
The waiting-damsels enter all, 
To quench the lights ; in darkness now 
The god must sit with wrinkled brow : 
Yet still be fix'd with looks of ire 
The wolf, whose eyeballs vomit fire. 

Now to a burst of laughter wild 
The god gave vent, which Hlidskialf fiU'd 
With terror ; then the hall he left, ^ 

And banged the door, with fury chaPd. 
He doCTs his helmet ; through the air 
Shines, meteor-like, his streaming hair ! 
He mounts his car ; through heaven he rolls, 
And awful thunders shake the poles. 

Down on the earth all night he threw 

His lightnings ; many a one he slew : 

Here towns and villages became 

A prey to th^ all-devouring flame ; 

A forest there of oak-trees fiim'd, 

Down to their very roots consumed. 

The children scream'd ; the mothers tore 

Their hair ; Thor foam'd like angry boar : 

And he, who whilom lovM to save, 

Proved unrelenting as the grave. 

But when at length shone forth the day, 

Towards Trudvang^s gate he bent his way ; 



<»8 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

There Sif receivM him in her arms, 

And strove to sooth his wild alarms. 

The goddess well knew how t^assuage 

With bland caress his utmost rage ; 

She knew his wrath would soon be o'er, 

And tenderness resume its power. 

Then smiled the earth with tears of dew, 

Such as an infant's face bedew, 

Whose father too much wrath has shown 

And struck too hard his little one. 

Repentance now Thorns looks bespeak, 

And tears roll down his manly cheek, 

For he, when calm, was good and kind. 

He then sent down on th' morning wind 

Roska and Tialf to Gefion's (I) strand, 

And every circumjacent land, 

With gold and silver, to divide 

'Mongst those whose dwellings were destroyed. 

The dead he to Valhalla brought, 

And next the helpless infants sought 

Who perish'd on that fatal night ; 

And bearing them to Folkvang's height, 

He blessed them all in Freya's name, 

And changM to Alfs they straight became. 

Now wings upon their shoulders grew. 

And 'midst delights so strange and new^ 

Meeting again, assembled there 

In Freya's grove, their parents dear. 

They sport and play the trees beneath, 

Unconscious they had suffered death. 



®^K®# ^fl'FUE^ 



THE BANQUET OF iEGIR. 



Hlbsbt's an island of renown ; 

But now 'tis small, for time and tide, 

Battering its base on every side, 
Into the sea have pIoughM it down ; 
But great in times of old its worth ; 

Then Hlesey could the rage abate 
Of the fierce Dragon of the north, 

Yclept by nations Kattegat. 



There, built of finest muscle-shell, 
Amidst vast beds of sea-weed bright, 
The vaulted hall appears in sight. 

Where iEgir ever lov'd to dwell. 

While raging Ran o^er ocean flew, 
By his pearl-jug was iEgir seen ; 

And now he drank, and now he blew 
For pastime in his conque marine. 

24 



5J90 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Cruel was Ran ; frightful her frown ; 

Like the fell goddess Hela, she 

Delighting to destroy, with glee 
Spreads out her nets mankind to drown : 
But, like th^ unruffled sea, the smile 

Of iEgir all creation charms ; 
And oft doth he the hours beguile, 

Soft dallying in a mermaid^s arms. 



While Ran afar is storming, he 
Basks in the sun at home ; his soul 
It joys with diamond-pointed pole 

To trace runes on (he placid sea. 

The surf each time reveaPd his joy, 
When he behind the rushes prest 

(Far from his scolding wife's annoy) 
A billow to his ardent breast. 



On Frey and Gerda oft he smiled : 
Much did bis heart the vision charm 
Of the fair couple arm in arm 

Indulging in love's transports wild. 

For much the Gods did i£gir prize. 
And by the Gods was lov'd full well. 

Heaven thus to bathe in Ocean joys, 
Who loves its genial ray to feel. 



CANTO XXVll. 291 

And now he bade them to his feast: 

When Rana wander'd Cur from home, 

To banquet in his friendly dome 
His friends with eagerness be prest. 
In vats of flint and ice profound 

His ale and beer the monarch stowM ; 
Fish, lobsters, crabs in store were found, 

And cook*d in many a diiTrent mode. 



No help he needs to deck his board, 
For every time he guests invites, 
The active Finnafeng delights 

To serve as cook his muoh-lov'd lord. 

But little fuel he requires ; 
The rivers for their monarch toil: 

And, warm'd by subterranean fires, 
Lo ! of itself each spring doth boil. 



Where Malstrom whirls with frightful sound 
Into its gulf the eddying wave, , 
That gulf, from which 'tis vain to save, 

Whiten'd with foam for leagues around : 

There Eldir's club to atoms breaks 
Whatever blls U> Ocean's share ; 

There iEgir's mill for ever clacks ( 
He grinds his wheat and barley (here. 



292 THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 

To Gerda's father Asa-Frey 
As present gave, we know fiill well, 
The best among the blades of steel, 

With which no other arm bould vie : 

He granted, not to die forlorn 
Of love himself, the giant's prayer ; 

Gave him his sword, and in return 
ReceivM a nymph of beauty rare. 



Much Gerda lovM her consort Frey ; 

Apart they never more could dwell : 

His portrait Frey did far excel; 
He won the great^t victory : 
And Gerda then, her love to mark, 

Enraptur'd with his graceful mien, 
Gave to her friend a wondrous bark, (1) 

The like of which was never seen. 



Well might the Scald in times of yore 
Of Hringhom, (2) Balder's vessel, say. 
It flew unscathed o*er marsh and sea, 

Nor quicksand fear'd, nor rocky shore. 

There safely could the Disar fur 
Sit by the gods in pomp array'd ; 

But not the battle's shock to bear 
Was pious Raider's vessel made. 



CANTO XXVH. 29S 



la time of peace this bark behold 
Glide swiftly from its havea gay, 
And towards the mart pursue its way; 

With a rich cargo in its hold ! 

Of horn is built its lofty prow 
With sable shining crooked rings ; 

And when it flies, each swelUng bow 
Aside in foam the billow flings. 



There is another bark of fame, 

'Tis by the giants own'd, we know ; 

Tis built of dead-men's nails, and so 
Of Naglefar it boasts the name. (3) 
In the morass this vessel lies, 

As yet a huge unfinishM hulk ; 
Year after year its builder tries 

Unwearied to increase its bulk. 



All those who from the dead neglect 
To cut the nails off foot and hand, 
Bring ill-luck to the Asar band. 

And mischief cause to rule unchecked. 

From this the giants an immense 
Advantage o'er the gods derive : 

By idlesse and improvidence 
Thus mischief never CbuIs to thrive. 



«M THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 

But for the bark, which Gerda kind 
As present to the Asar gave, 
It ean the wildest storm enslave, 

And stiffly sail against the wind : 

In armour all the gods can stand 
Upon its deck with sword and helm, 

And sail Trom bri^t Valhalla's land 
To plough the waves in iCgir's realm, 



And when the gods to brave the gale 
No longer chuse for pleasure's sake, 
Then Gerda can this vessel take 

And fold it up like silken veil. 

Then lies it, free from tempest's shocks. 
In Gerda's bosom (blissful coast I) 

And gently 'tween two surges rocks, 
Such as the Ocean cannot boast. 



The Asar^s voyage to i£gir's isle 

Think now how glorious 'twas to view ! 

The morning sun rejoicing too 
Deign'd warmly on their course to smile. 
See silent Vidar by the mast I 

And Odin by the rudder stand ! 
And see, like flowers in vase incased, 

In all their charms th' Asynior bland I 



CANTO XXVI I. 293 

How gently saiiM the bark along, 

As on a river; ne'er it lurched 

Nor plunged: upon the boom was perch'd 
Heimdaller ; Bragur tuned his song; 
Niord waves the standard high in air ; 

Like subtlest dust ascends the spray : 
An awning, framed by Frigga's care 

Of oak leaves, veiPd the solar ray. 



Their temples wreaths of flowers adorn ; 

Nor did there lack amusement good, 

For by the gangway naked stood 
Young Tyr, as when he first was born : 
In his left hand he grasp'd his sword ; 

A shark enormous hove in sight ! 
The hero brave jump'd overboard, 

With the fell shark to prove his might. 



Now must each Disa shake with fear ; 

The monster bravely fought, in truth ; 

It openM wide its frightful mouth, 
And snappM with fury after Tyr. 
But soon doth cease the Disarms pain, 

And gaily now they laugh aloud ; 
The hero sprung on board again ; 

Down sank the dying shark in blood. 



206 THE GODS OF THB NORTH. 

Ye all do know, the spiteful Ran 
Delights with monsters fierce to live : 

9 

She to that shark did mandate give 
To execute her envious plan : 
By her Hwas sent to pbgue with fear 

The guests who sped to iEgir's hall ; 
But when the shark was slain by Tyr, 

She then dispatch^ a monstrous whale. 



Foaming it rolPd impetuous by, 

So vast, it seemM an isle broke loose ! 

It snorted loud, while from its nose 
A watVy column spouted high. 
But Heimdal lo ! for sport in haste 

Athwart the wat'ry column flew; 
Then brilliant shone, as through he past, 

A band of seven-colour'd hue ! 



Now Vidar standing at the poop 
FixM with his fearful eye the whale : 
At once its powers of mischief fail ; 

To Vidar*s eye all creatures stoop. 

Aloud read Odin many a rune; 
The whale must to the bottom go ; 

For Vidar's look, like a harpoon. 
Had pierced the monster through and through. 



CANTO XXVII. 29-; 

'Twas eve : the land begins to loom ; 

tiovt Hlesey full in sight appears : 

And much it joys Valhalla's peers 
To greet Hler i£gir's friendly dome. 
Like clouds which shooting through the sky 

Rush eager towards the wave's embrace, 
Thus lighdy did Skidbladner fly, 

Its name well suits its worth to trace. 



The anchor's tooth now bit the ground : 

The sun its parting radiance shed. 

A troop of Mermaids towards them sped, 
And sportive swam the bark around : 
There three by three those nymphs were seen, 

Their arms around each other's neck, 
With flowing hair as rushes green, 

And limbs like snow without a speck. 



Each with a silver-tissued veil. 

And brows with garlands white attired, 

Sporting and dancing, never tired, 
With songs of joy their guests they hail. 
And now the Alfer they invite 

To join their train with accents bland : 
The bark the thoughtless Alfer quit, 

And with their partners haste to land. (4) 



«U8 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

They sat by pairs upon the rock : 

Each Alfa pliant warrior proved; 

The Mermaids like true females loved, 
Unshrinking from the amorous shock : 
There was no lack of pinching, flouncing, 

Of kisses, and embraces warm : 
The sound was that of sea-birds pouncing 

Amidst a siiv*ry herring-swarm. 



HIer i£gir sits upon his throne, 
With seeptre emblem of his might : 
His silver helmet, gleaming bright 

With crest in form of Dragon shone. 

Yet from this helm so fair to view 
Oft came a sout-appalling sound ; 

Twas like 4he tempest howling through 
The hollow of a rock profound. 



r th^ middle of the festive hall, 

For night had now obscured the earth, 

A lump of gold placed on the hearth 
Gave ample light and warmth to all. 
The monarch here his friends regales 

With what his realm produces best; 
And every guest exulting hails 

The generous founder of the feast. 



CANTO XXVII. 2!»9 

Bui while the gods enjoyM their feast, 

As far as Finnmark's farthest dale, 

Midst fogs, and snow, and sleet, and hail 
Flew Asa-Lok like one possest. 
Wildly his eheek of corpse-like hue 

Contrasted with each ehon lock 
Wide streaming through the ether hliie, 

Like vapours dark at Ragnarok. 



Vexation great the caitiff feels, 

That Fenris wolf in chains riiould pine : 

But forming quick a bold design, 
Bats' wings be fastened to his heels : 
Then to his shoulders wings of owl 

With art ingenious making fast, 
He seemed a huge ill--omenM fowl, 

As o'er the rocks and plains he past. 



*' So ! I have not invited been, 
Among the rest, to >£gir's isle : 
And, though a god, am held too vile 

To figure in that brilliant soene ; 

But Thor is absent, so *tis said ; 
He wanders warring in the east : 

Now ril mix gravel in their bread. 
And spoil the glories of their feast. 



WW THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

*^ Since I cannot their pleasures share, 
Others' enjoyment I'll prevent : 
While Lok 's a prey to discontent, 

No guest the smiles of joy shall wear. 

Ha ! they shall soon be made to feel, 
No rose is pluckM without a thorn ; 

And drops of wormwood Til distil 
Into each Asa's drinking-horn. 



*' Great powers 1 have not ; yet in need 
The weakest worm hath force to wound : 
. My tongue the Disar shall confound, 

And floods of tears PU make them shed. 

Since they're averse to Asa-Lok, 
To make them fear him be my aim : 

My gibes obscene their ears shall shock ; 
My calumnies destroy their fame. 



^^ Who on the power of truth relies 

'Gainst slander, will repent full soon ; 

Since there is but one truth alone 
Against a hundred thousand lies. 
How easy is it to deceive 

Mankind, if we but have the will I 
The mass all, that they hear, believe, 

And Lok in fraud is master still." 



CANTO XXVII. Spi 

Such was the restless caitifrs song, 

As sharp he grazed the mountain's side : 

On his best weapon he reUed, 
His merciless, unwearied tongue. 
But, passing by some dwarfs, he paused, 

And in his service pressM them all ; 
Chusing sharp adder's stings, he caused 

His tongue to be belay'd withal. 



With garland strange he deck'd his head, 
His hair he twisted into horns ; 
Thereto he added sharpest thorns, 
"With dark-blue hemlock flowers bespread. 
To Hlesey now his course he bent, 
' And there bold Finnafeng he slew, 
Who strove his entrance to prevent 
Among the jovial iEgir's crew. 



Sprinkled with Finnafenger's blood, 
He sat him down by JEgtr^s gate, 
Preparing for the stem debate 

With shameless front and accent rude. 

Spite of his visage blood-besmear'd, 
He rose and enter d the saloon ; 

Around him insolent he stared, 
And thus he spoke in jeering tone. 



30'i THE 60P» UP TUB NORTH. 

'*' Now hail to ye, ye Disar all 1 

Hail to ye, gods 1 Valhalla's powers ! 

Without the blast inclement roars, 
But here 'tis snug in iEgir's hall. 
Indulging in your evening feast 

FiU'd with bright ale each drains his horn : 
Despised is the unbidden guest, 

But your contempt he laughs to scorn. 



" With haughty glances towards the ground, 

To answer Lok ye all disdain. 

The slave of i£gir 1 have slain, 
His cook for wdenee so renown'd : 
To iCgir's hall he barrM my way, 

But I chastised his insolence : 
The slave must, true, his lord obey, . 

But expiate oft his lord's offence. 

oniN. 

How darest thou, wretch ! without a blush 

Invade the Asar's brilliant s|^re ? 

Thou ne'er shalt be invited here I 
Thou screeching owl behind the bush I 
Avaunt ! thou kill-joy I quick retreat, 

Nor here thy odious form intrude i 
My lance, 1 swear, when next we meet. 

Shall pierce thy heart, and drink thy blood. 



CANTO XXVll. 303 



LOK. 



More kind and decent was thy tone, 
When, dressM as lowly waiting-maid» 
Thou turn'dsi the silly Rinda's head, 

Heiress of Garderike's throne : 

Clothed in the garment of a slave, 
Was conduct that for Odin fit ? 

Ha! though thou art more wise than brave, 
Thy prudence far exceeds thy wit. 



BRAGIR. 



How darest thou thus presume to vent 
On Valhairs king thy envious spite, 
With hair like hedgehog's quills upright, 

And slandVous tongue on mischief bent ? 

Valhalla's rays thy eye-balls sear ; 
Down then ! to realms of darkness hie ! 

And since the sun thou canst not bear, 
For ever from its splendour fly ! 



LOK. 



^Tis not thy menace makes me shrink ; 

Thy sword rests ever in the sheath ; 

Useless ! except to waste thy breath 
In empty boasts, to doze and drink ! 
Cautious of shedding blood art thou. 

To bite less proper than to bay : 
When caird upon to wield the bow. 

The valiant Bragur slinks away. 



1 
J 



30i THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 



IDLNA. 



How dares tby spiteful tongue assail 
The god, whose lyre enchants the earth, 
Whose lofty song throughout the north 

Cheers, like the moon, life's gloomy vale P 

Who raises merit to the skies. 

Who points the genuine road to fame ; 

From evil causes good to rise, 
And stamps the Nidding's act with shame. 



LOK. 



? 



Why prudish now 'gainst vice protest 

Slow wert thou 'gainst the mountain fiend 

Thy precious virtue to defend, 
When he thy juicy apples prest : 
Fear taught thee to be soft and tame, 

Thiasse could tell us how and when ; (5) 
Of Bragur's honour, dainty dame I 

Thou wert not quite so mindful then. 

A dame, more pure and innocent 
Than Ydun, nowhere can be found : 
Tis time thy stand Vous tongue were hound, 

Yet Uis to me indifferent. 
Foul sower of all calumny ! 

What wretched harvests must thou reap ! 
Pursue thy trade ! add lie to lie ! 

1 hold thv utmost malice cheap. 



CANTO XXVII. 305 



LOK. 

To men tbouVt scornful, cold, and glum, 
But that is while the day shines bright : 
Tis well no power of speech hath night, 

And that each forest tree is dumb. 

Whene'er behind the bush, proud maid I 
Thy limbs thou bathest in the flood ; 

Thou dost not then disdain, 'tis said. 
To cool the water-demon's blood. 

ODIN. 

This is too much. Vd haye thee know. 

The moon's bright disk thou canst not stain ; 

That lily fair 'tis labour vain 
To soil ; 'tis casting coals on snow. 
Fly, caitiff, to thy rocks remote ! 

Cease to disturb the social hour ! 
Bark, an it give thee joy, without, 

Like mastiff chain'd at Mgir^s door ! 

LOK. 

Hold thy tongue, Odin 1 blind, in troth, 

Are thy awards i' th' tenled field. 

The bold must oft to witchcraft yield, 
When Odin boils the magic broth. 
'Tis thy delight the brave to lower. 

And crown with palms the base and mean ; 
Oft dost thou borrow Mimers power, 

But seldom his discernment keen. 

25 



306 THE GODS OF THB NORTH. 



FRIGGA. 

Ha, Lok I dost thou presume to call 

The chief, whom all the gods revere, 

Albder^s self, unjust, severe, 
And partial, in this sacred hall ? 
He will not now disturb th6 peace 

Of iCgir^s hospitable board. 
But grief he'll force thee to express 

To-morrow for each slandVous word. 

LOK. 

Hold thy tongue, Frigga! Asgard*s queen ! 

From scratching, pain oft follows strait ; 

Like the queen bee, with many a mate, 
But with no king is Frigga seen. 
Not sparing of thy charms art thou. 

By zephyrs pleased to be carest ; 
In Spring thy looks too phunly show 

The longing that pervades thy breast. 

FRET A. 

Lok ! since wrath hath no effect 
The venom of thy tongue to tame, 
Let females some exception claim : 

Treat them at least with some respect. 

Behold, the tears of Freya flow ! 
Would they could melt thy stubborn bate ! 

Ah me ! what pleasure feelest thou 
The gods' fair fame to lacerate? 



CANTO XXVII. 307 



LOK. 

What causes Freya^s grief? I pray : 

Is it from longing I behold 

Her cheek bedew*d with tears of gold ? 
What dost thou long for ? Freya, say ! 
Thy husband fair has fled, His true, 

But His not, sure, a hopeless case ; 
Thou canst find lovers not a few, 

Eager and fit to take his place. 

But why. did Odur break his chain ? 

Ha, Freya ! did he find thy kiss 

Too warm, too prodigal of bliss? 
Or was it that he felt disdain 
For charms which had so oft been bared 

And closely scannM in Yalaskialf, 
And felt no zest in favours shared 

With every Ase and every Alf ? 



FBBY. 

Be silent with thy hissing, snake ! 
With fire-red eye, where malice glows, 

Why thus delight to prick the rose, 

« 

When thistles grow on every brake P 
Why thus calumniate the good ? 

Why cause a gracious female pain ? 
Go ! hie thee hence to Angurbod, 

With locks as coarse as horse^s mane I 



308 THE OODS OF THE NORTH. 



LOK. 

With cynic lust thine eye still shines ; 

'Tis thou hast Valaskialf betrayed, 

O Frey ! since with thy sword hath fled 
All vigour from thy jaded loins. 
Fair Gerda with her luscious kiss 

Sucks out, like leech, thy warmest blood ; 
Each time thou tastest Freya's bliss. 

Much joy it gives to Angurbod. 

HEIMDAL. 

With the dark wizard 'neath yon rock, 
Upon my life, thou must have drank, 
And here thou com'st, with liquor rank, 

Our ears with ribald taunts to shock. 

Thy sparks of wit proceed, I trow, 
But from the fumes of mead and ale ; 

Its emptiness we all do know : 
Thy sarcasms here must ever fail. 

LOK. 

Ha ! Lok must now succumb, His plain. 

Since pompous Hetmdal threatens too ; 

Think'st thou I fear thy famous bow, 
Made of mere vapour, sleet, and rain ? 
And what is HeimdaPs self, I ask, 

When of his gaudy colours shorn ? 
What is he then behind his mask? 

A simple watchman with his horn 1 



CANTO XXVll. 3)1) 



BALDEB. 

Behind Iby ribaldry so coarse, 

I can discern a vein of wit, 

And genius loo for all things fit, 
Did virtue lend her sterling force. 
Like JFUl dJFlsp with spurious light, 

Thou friskest the deep marsh about ; 
While others thou wouldst fain benight, 

Thy own fantastic flame goes out. 



LOK. 

The lamb doth scarce compassion meet ; 

Coward, he lets himself be slain : 

Lok ne^er before his foes will deign, 
Lamb-like, in piteous strains to bleat. 
Vain, Balder, is that rule of thine, 

Patience and piety to use ; 
He only bows at virtue^s shrine, 

Whose arm is weak and wit obtuse.^' 



Vidar spoke not, but earnest stared 

Full in the face of Asa-Lok ; 

The caitiff instant felt the shock, 
With quivering lip and visage scared. 
The water-spout with gloomy frown, 

Thus column-like from heaven doth come, 
With thick shoes stamps old Ocean down, 

And scatters far the billow's scum. 



310 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Now black the vault of heaven became ; 

Athwart the vapours thick and close, 

While Loptur^s blood with terror froze, 
GlitterM aiar a lurid flame ! 
Of thunder now tremendous peals 

Shake earth and make the billows roar. 
And every one instinctive feels 

With awe th' approach of Asa-Thor ! 



Lok sighM and sweated now with fear, 

Yet still his terror he conceaPd ; 

At length the lightning's glare reveaFd 
The white-hairM goats and golden car. 
But when Thor full in view appeared, 

Lok's colour fled, his spirits Caird ; 
At sight of the majestic beard 

Of ebon hue, the traitor qiiaiFd. 



THOB. 

Be silent, thou of sland'rers worst, 

Who striv'st the Asar's fame to soil ! 

Ne'er doth thy Nidding's brain recoil 
From hatching some vile scheme accurst. 
But come, Til put an end full soon 

To alt thy schemes of t reach Vy fell ; 
To Utgard's shades Til cast thee down, 

And bind thee fast with chains of Hel. 



CANTO XX VII. 311 



LOK. 

1 tremble not ; I turn not pale ; 

Thou hast not got thy Miolner now ; 

Thy genuine hammer lies, we know, 
Buried beneath the serpent's scale. 
Aye I spite of all thy godlike vigour. 

Oft didst thou, Thor, my pity move ; 
I laugh'd to see the silly figure 

Thou mad'st in Skrymur's sweaty glove. (6) 

THOR. 

Be silent, thou pestiferous cloud, 

That striv'st to damp celestial fire ! 

Thou'lt find, no hammer 1 require 
To punish thee and all thy brood. 
Behold that pine on yon high rock I 

Thereon I'll hang thy odious form ; 
All creatures shall thy suff 'rings mock, 

Traitor ! when dangling in the storm. 

LOK. 

Methinks it is no longer fit 

That Lok should throw away his jests ; 

My songs were meant for jovial guests. 
For those who value mirth and wit. 
The other gods with temper hear 

My gibes, and like my humour well ; 
But Thor a joke could never bear : 

' Tis time 1 bid ye all farewell. 



319 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Thus said, be plunges in the sea ; 

Swift as an eel he scuds along : 

But after him, by anger stung, 
Thor hurFd a lightning^s forked ray. 
But Lok intent his limbs to save, 

Deep under water bow'd his head ; 
Innocuous ^midst the boiling waye 

The thundVer's flaming arrow sped 



Thus as, when vanish clouds and rain, 
The air breathes more serene and mild. 
Each lovely Disa gracious smilM ; 

Joy coloured high their cheeks again. 

Freed from the wretch, their torment dire, 
They pass the night in dance and song ; 

And strains from i£gir*s golden lyre 
Re^-echo loud the rocks among. 



®iIK®® SCSC'FHI. 



lor's trbachbry/ 



In serpent* s form Lok fled away into the ocean blue ; 

AH the fell monsters of the deep now met him full in view. 

In order to avoid them, how dexterously he toils I 

Now in a line deploys him, now rolls himself in coils ! 

The peasant standing on a cliff foIlowM with curious eye 

The course of Lok, as like the wind he swiftly glided by : 

Fearing pursuers, up he swam as far as Lindernses, 

On Norway's coast; and hid him there 'midst sea- weed, sand, and 

At length his shape resuming, upon a reef of rock [grass. 

He seats himself, like goatherd who watches o'er his flock. 

*^ What have I done ? Ah I woe is me ! from ValaskialPs abode 

Thus exiled, what is Loptur now ? a giant, or a god ? 

Am I thus amongst monsters condemned my time to pass?*' 

Where's now my fav'rite pastime, the zest of life ? alas ! 

Must I 'midst stupid giants dwell in the realms of night. 

Who dose like sleepy dragons o'er gold and silver bright ? 

For them no sunshine blazes, no spring brings with it joy, 

The art the blockheads know not existence to enjoy : 

* The reader is requested, berorc he begins this Canto, to read the note 



314 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

# 

Tbey know not love's soft blandishment, they prize not music's tone, 
Their only pastime is to hear the cascade rushing down. 
Heavily slumbering like bears in gelid caverns drear, 
What doth avail heroic strength, if th' hero be a bear ? 
Shall I ne'er listen to again the sound of Bragur's harp ? 
At times on the good bard, I own, I used my wit too sharp. 
In Fensal shall my eyes no more the fiBur Asynior woo ? 
My impudence no longer tinge with red their skin of snow ? 
No longer now shall Odin sage be overreached by me ? 
'Twas my chief sport to disconcert his stiff forn^ality. 
Shall my sarcasms no longer put to blush Asa-Thor ? 
Thor is indeed a hero, and had he half the store 
Of wit, that falls to Loptur's share, to all Valhalla's power 
He could defiance bid, and force each god bis crest to lower. 
He suits me well ; with patience my raillery he bears ; 
With him I love to travel ; and when his car he steers 
Athwart the spacious regions of heav'n with pond'rous wheels, 
And thunders shake Heimkringlas with soul-appalling peals, 
I share Hlorrida's glory : each time earth trembling shook, 
1 thought myself his equal, and frown'd with swagg'ring look. 
Each Disa smiled enchanting, when courteous I address'd her ; 
With blushes Fulla trembled, when in my arms I press'd her. 
She is in love with Lok, 1 know, poor little innocent thing ! 
And many other Disar in my net 1 hoped to bring. 
My impudence doth in their cheek the blush of shame recall, 
But soon, becoming used to it, they'll cease to blush at all. 
Sweet to my taste SAhrimner was, and sweeter still the mead ; 
And when the proud Einherier pranced about the flow'ry mead 
With shield and lance, I was content : all things to hear and see, ' . 
And mock at all the gods by turns, was charming sport to me. 



CANTO XXVlll. »1* 

1 was the cleverest of them all, and with the gods 1 play*d, 
Just as a cat does with a mouse, which he has just waylaid. 
First doth he his poor captive with feigned caresses quail ; 
His eyes with malice sparkle ; he frisks about his tail : 
At length when weary of the sport his food Grimalldn needs, 
His teeth inflict the mortal crunch, and then poor mousie bleeds ! 
But now Puss on the house-roof sits, nor deems himself secure 
E'en there ; he licks his beard and paws ; his master from the door 
Hath chased him in his anger, because i* th* cupboard he 
With his dame's hams and bacon had chosen to make free. 

But if their loss 1 feel, will not they (eel my loss much more ? 
Odin, I'm sure, when no one laughs, will feel vexation sore. 
Long days of constant seriousness the Asar soon will rue ; 
They'll find that to the zest of life mirth must contribute too. 
Heavy and dull are they become already ; there they sit, 
And yawn, and in their mead-horn gaze, when they haveemptied it. 
Let but the Disar once the bread without the leaven taste. 
Insipid will it prove, I trow, without friend Loptur's yeast : 
Without the poignancy of change pleasure itself must pall, 
And light, unchequer'd e'er by shade, be insupportable. 
No difPrence of opinion now excites ye ; true, ye breathe, 
But spiritless and dull your life ; 'tis the repose of death." 

In such reflections Loptur from sorrow sought relief. 

And often gazed he wistful upon Yggdrassil's leaf. 

^* Could I," thought he, '* of Asa-Thor the pardon once obtain, 

The favour of the other gods 'twere easy to regain. 

Thus Lok amidst the grove of pines pensive and restless stray'd ; 

His silence deep at length he broke : *' I have it now, " he said ; 



31G THE GODS OF THB NORTH. 

For Thor bis hammer Fll procure ; 1 think, upon my life. 
To get his hammer back again heM give away bis wife/' 

Now over bill and dale he flew, quite joyous at the thought, 

And passing through the hard-wood grove, soon reachM the mountain 

There at the entrance of a cave sat Thrymur, giant-king, [grot : 

Around a bunch of arrows sharp twining a golden string : 

Red ribbands in his courser's mane then did he interlace, 

While the full moon pourM streams of light adow^n his dusky face. 

Into the field the giant looked, and seeing Lok, cried out : 

'* Ha I welcome here ! thou smallest toe in mighty Odin*s foot ! 

To visit us poor folks below doth Loptur condescend ? 

What pleasure can an Asa find in our dark goblin-land ? 

Have the gods (umM thee out of doors ? hast thou been indiscreet ? 

Shame were it such a chief of worth so scornfully to treat ; 

To start them game the gods, perhaps, thee falcon-like have sent : 

Speak out then, thou accomplishM rogue ! say ! what is thy intent ?'' 

Now sitting down by Thrymur's side with mien composed he said : 

'* With insults deep and injury the gods have Lok repaid ; 

Did I not hope one day your cause to aid, ye giants good ! 

I ne'er would set my foot again in ValhalFs curst abode. 

You do require a spy, methinks, to find out and detect 

All that the fraudful Asar brood against your realm project : 

Some clever and ingenious wight ; and where on earth's vai»l round 

More proper for this task than Lok can any one be found ? 

Besides, unknown to ye no doubt, Tve often proved your iricnd, 

And to some gratitude from ye I may with right pretend : 

But howsoe'er wilh pitying eye my sufferings ye regard, 

In my own conscience, in my heart I find my best reward.*' 



CANTO XXVni. 317 



Then Thrymuranswerd, laughing loud : '^ What means this canting 

[speech ? 
With pious lopk and honied words thinkst thou to overreach 
Us giant champions, as ye catch the larks with berries red 
Behind a net of horse-hair fixM, and 'bout the meadow spread ? 
Tears canst thou shed, like Dragon foul, when, eager for his food, 
He seeketh travelers to entrap within the marshy flood ; 
But out with it I thy errand quick, O turncoat vile, relate ! 
Be frank for once, or in thy face, by Hel, Til shut my gate." 

^^ Ah I thou hast reason to be proud and haughty, '' answer^ Lok : 
^' Now may'st thou with contempt on Thor, and all Valhalla look : 
Hast thou not found his hammer Hwixt the scales of Jormundgard ? 
A glorious booty His, forsooth : 'twill all your pains reward : 
For though that hammer's use thyself thou dost not understand, 
Immense advantage 'twill afford ; thou may'st with right demand. 
In ransom for that weapon, all the wealth thou canst conceive ; 
Whate'er thou chusest to exact, the god will freely give." 

^ ^ What ransom ?" cried the giant harsh and rough : ** doth Thor 

[possess 
Gold, silver, copper, as I do within my deep recess ? 
Such gifts small value have for me ; for riches naught I care ; 
But much of Freya have I heard, and of her beauty rare : 
They say, she doth in form and grace all other dames eclipse ; 
Ivory her limbs, of gold her hair, of coral are her lips : 
Her voice sweet music ; plump well-rounded arms ; a laughingmien ; 
A mouth that is for kissing made, and loves it too, I ween. 
I burn with ardour to embrace a nymph of colour white ; 
No more the dames of swarthy hue my passion can excite. 



318 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

If therefore Freya fair, as bride, Odin to me will give, 

Tbor in exchange his hammer bright that instant shall receive. 

Did not Frey wed a Jotun nymph ? If so, with equal right 

May Jotun Thrymur claim as spouse his sister Freya bright. 

Such my proposal is^ which thou to Asagard mayst bear ; 

Why should we plague each other^s live^ with endless hate and war, 

Let friendship durable ensue upon this marriage tie I 

But mark me I Miblner eight miles deep doth in the ocean lie : 

Never again shall Thor, I swear, his much-prized arm behold, 

Unless I clasp in my embrace Freya with hair of gold/' 

Thus spake the giant-king : a dwarf, as page, came to the gate, 
And oped it ; in his master went ; the dwarf then closed it strait. 
Lok stood without at th' midnight hour abandonM and forlorn, 
To Asar and to giants both the object of their scorn. 



He laughM out loudly in the dark : so fearful was the sound. 
The owls perched on the forest trees fell down upon the ground. 
To learn the cause, the scolding Ran rose from the depths of ocean. 
And scars on warriors' limbs now bled afresh at th' wild commotion : 
Fell Jormundgardur shook himself ; for miles and miles around 
Men, fiel ds, and dwellings were submerged in ocean's waves profound . 
Each Nidding starting from his couch by stings of conscience vexM 
Arose ; a cold sweat on his brow announced a soul perplex'd : 
Fenris loud howling through the sky the vast creation scared ; 
Lok's laughter and the wolfish howl the long long night were heard. 

*' Giants and gods alike I hate/' said Lok : ^' soon shall they prove, 
How terrible that power can be, which but itself doth love. 



CANTO XXVlif. 319 

Would 1 could make them perish all together ! ha I what bliss, 
Gould I the vast Heimkringlas sink i' th' bottomless abyss I 
Ye've exiled me from Valaskialf ; asylum ye refuse ; 
But means of vengeance still I hold, and such I mean to use. 
like tree rubbing 'gainst tree in fell collision shall ye come, 
Until a flame arise, and all your hated brood consume : 
Then shall ye when too late, I trow, do honour to my skill :*' 
Thus did the traitor Lok the air with groans and curses fill. 

« 

*' With force unmanageable works the purblind mountain race; 
The Asar boast their virtue pure, combined with strength and grace : 
If to an act of treachery I once could Thor incline, 
Then cunning overreaches strength; the triumph then were mine; 
Thor a mere giant then becomes : when at the midnight hour 
Odin of witches dire invokes the soul-appalling power, 
Yggdrassil trembles ; then grows dry the fount in Urda's vale : 
Then shines the frightful Jormungard with doubly brilliant scale : 
HePs colour from a livid blue changes from joy to white. 
And HeimdaPs horn excites the world to sempiternal fight." 

But since his last expulsion Lok to mount to ValhalPs dome 
Without safe conduct ventured not, and houseless still must roam : 
Towards evening he reached the grove of beech on Sealand's isle, 
As homeward with his plough returned the peasant from his toil. 
There is a spot within that grove, whence fountains with delight 
Spring from benignant Hertha's breast, and through the sand stream 

bright : 
'Twas on the spot where Leire stood, and afterwards king Hro (1) 
With many a stone and plank and joist constructed Kongebo. (2) 
At morning and at evening's blush there loved the Alfs to rove. 
And scatter Freya's tears like dew throughout the beechen grove ; 



320 THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 

And when she pricked her finger with her needle, up they took 
The drops of blood, and pour'd them on the green plantaby thebrook : 
Lo! by the next revolvingsun those plants with flowers werecrown'd, 
Which spread delightful odours through the grove for miles around. 
They took the yellow sparrows grey, who o'er earth's surface rove, 
And kissed their beaks and taught them how to pour forth notes of love. 
Nightingales they became at once, whose tones so sweetly sound, 
And fill each youthful heart with dreams of tendeAies9 profound. 
Now ev'ry morning they anoint the locks of Freya fair 
With precious unguent, which embalms with fragrancy the air. 
Once from the Disa in a shell they stole some drops of oil, 
Aud pour'd them on a weed ; a Julian flower repaid their toil : 
But far too strong that odour proved ; its strength prevails e'en now. 
Some drops were left ; with water mix'd upon the turf they throw 
Those drops, and lol upon green stems blue violets fragrant grow! 

Thus in that grove the little Alfs amuse themselves secure ; 
They teach the peasant's cock to crow loud at his master's door. 
To rouse him from his slumber, and make him hie with speed 
To earn with plough and harrow for wife and children bread. 
At night they show the lover, who through the forest roves, 
The way that he should wander, to find the maid he loves : 
And when he meets her, when her hand he presses tenderly, 
The Alfs their hands together bind with links of flowers, which she. 
Now kind become, ne'er seeks to loose. 

But while the blithesome crew 
Of Alfs were dancing on the grass yet glitt'ring bright with dew, 
Lo! from an ash-tree's hollow trunk Lok started forth to view! 
The Erl-king in the full*moon's glare he much resembled now, 
With crown of blackberry, thick beard, and tail like that of cow. 



CANTO XXVIir. 3«l 

At first the Alfs were terrified ; away they fain would fly ; 
They fearM it was their enemies the black Alfs hovVin^ nigh : 
But when they Loptur recognized, they haiPd him with a shout 
Of laughter, and delighted frisk'd their new-come guest about : 
He pleased them ; in their frolics oft he took an active part ; 
He was an Asa, well they knew, but knew not his bad heart. 



^ 'How now? friend Lok! what dost thou here ith' forest? art thou 

[sprung 
From th* branches of the tree, to dance our mirthful choir among ?*' 
'' Yes ! my dear little creatures ! Lok, ye know, doth love ye all ; 
Eager to teach ye novel sports, he comes to join your ball. ^' 
He joinM the dance; a circle now the Alfs around him trace. 
But Lok's tail made a rustling noise, like serpent in the grass : 
Sudden the fountain ceased to flow ; the once transparent brook 
Troubled and dark became, while toads in stagnant marshes croak ; 
A swarm of crickets hover round a corpse with deaPning cry : 
But how could innocent white Alfs suspect Lok's treachery? 

Thus on the grass in Autumn late two lovers often sit ; 
They gaze upon each other's face with rapture and defight ; 
They feel not that the fevVish air announces : ^^ One shall die !" 
Grasping their flow'ry garland in their hands, their ecstacy 
Makes them incautious ; they inhale the pestilential breath 
Of the foul Lok, who lurks behind the bushes on the. heath. 
The placid moon, which cheer'd so oft their love with radiance meek. 
But which had not the power to cool the deep blush on their cheek, 
A few weeks later on the bier a Ufeless corpse doth view 
CrownM with white flowers : from Lok's black art such bitter fruits 

2C [ensue! 



322 THE GODS OK THE NORTH. 



** Ye friendly little Alfs! '* said Lok in soft cajoling strain, 

** D*ye wish to know the reason why I join your sportive train ? 

Ye' re call'd Valhalla's children ; the Asar hold ye dear ; 

Poor Lok needs your assistance, and therefore comes he here. 

I have been sadly indiscreet; too free hath been my tongue ; 

But i£gir's banquet is to blame ; his Uquor was too strong. 

My head too weak : I've mock'd the gods ; my crime I frankly own : 

But if great Odin will once more admit me near his ttrone, 

If Thor for what I've said or sung will grant his pardon too, 

I promise in return (my word is truth itself, ye know) 

To fetch him Miolner back again, which deep in earth now lies ; 

So that again he may strike home, and win each glorious prize, 

Nor fear that a short hammer-shaft his strength might neutralize.'* 

The friendly Alfer promised all for Lok to intercede : 

Like doves so white to Valhall's dome they flew his cause to plead : 

With folded hands in lengthen'd file entering, they knelt before 

The Asar, for the culprit Lok forgiveness to implore. 

All hearts were moved; first Freya smiled ; then Frey : ah I who can say 

** No," to a prayer for mercy, when such lovely children pray ? 

Now they led forth the criminal, who soft behind them crept. 

He flatter'd, play'd the hypocrite, fell on his knees, and wept ; 

He tried to kiss Thor's garment ; at this demeanour base 

The hero blush'd with anger, and struck him on the face. 

'* A vaunt ! thou miserable wretch !" said Thor, with fearful cry ; 

*' Thy abjectness more wrath exdtes, than did thy treachery." 

''Dear shalt thou pay for this," ^thought Lok, '' thy pride one day be 

[cool'd ; 
The bowstring 's pulled so frequently, it snaps at length : but hold, 



CANTO XXVIII. 323 



I must refrain from menace, be meek and humble here, 

And all my schemes of vengeance till fitter time defer.'* 

So now in haste up springing, he loudly shouted ! ''Peace ; 

Good tidings now I bring ye : all strife and hate shall cease : 

Giants and gods no longer eternal war shall wage ; 

The bosom melts with kindness, that once throbb'd high with rage. 

The heart of Thrymur beats with love ; the object of his flame 

Is Freya ; to tfie rocks and woods he sighs out Freya*s name. 

And when athwart the birch-trees he views her gloripus fane, 

And marks her spindle sparkling with many a yellow skein, 

The female, thinks the giant, who such a quantity 

Of flax can spin, must truly a clever housewife be. 

She 's just the dame for Thrymur's taste ; soft, delicate, and thin 

Must be the fingers, that can draw the silken thread so fine. 

Her skin the lily's hue presents, her cheek the peach's bloom, 

Her lips are red as blood, Tm told ; the rest all white as foam : 

With brightest gold in colour her silken tresses vie, 

And three times can she wind them around her forehead high. 

They say she's in affliction, her husband she has lost ; 

Good sense this doth not argue to be so deeply crost : 

But it denotes fidelity ; and that, one may surmise. 

Supposes that she too upon fideUty relies : 

For ah I where would the guerdon be of virtue, if one doubted 

Incessantly ? for Freya too, whose beauty is undoubted. 

The thistle no attention meets, e'en from the butterfly ; 

But the rose ne'er can rest in peace for th' homage of the bee. 

^' Thy sermon on fidelity, I pray thee, spare us now !" 
Said Freya, laughing : '' emblem of fidelity, we know. 
Is Loptur's heart: but quickly Thrymur's^ demand prefer, 
And thy remarks on virtue another time we'll hear.'' 



324 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

'' They are not mine, fair lady !" quoth Lok : '* 1 only come, 

As messenger from Thrymur, to ValhalPs azure dome. 

Freya the Disa fair be loves with manhood's fervent fire ; 

His love for her all Jotunheim with softness doth inspire. 

His father, Lok of Utgard stern, so wrappM up in his son, 

Hath for the ardent lover's vows a tender pity shown. 

Brother-in-law of Odin thus should Utgard-Lok become, 

A mighty change will then forthwith o'er all Heimkringlas come : 

Henceforth twixt good and evil no difTrence will appear ; 

AH contrasts blend harmonious, when the dark owl shall pair 

With the white dove : sunshine shall mix with the volcano's gleam 

And in Valhalla's fragrant grove unsavoury vapours steam : 

Smooth-skinn'd and beardless man become; woman abeard shall wear ; 

Twilight will all the fashion be ; day and night disappear : 

Sweet violets on carrion bloom ; a blade of straw a knife, 

A spit a lily straight become : the warrior and his ^fe 

Will change professions ; she the javelin, he the distaff hold : 

Such transformations wonderful our eyes will then behold. 

But Thrymur is a serious wight, this must not be forgot, 

He's somewhat jealous too, and jokes he understandeth not : 

And Freya must, if she consent to share the giant's reign, 

As Thrymur's spouse, in subterranean gloom for aye remain. 

True, love will vanish from the earth ; but where, I pray, the loss, 

Since hate no longer will exist our hearts to plague and cross ? 

Heimdaller's Bifrost then will lose its variegated hue, 

No more display its gorgeous rays, red, yellow, green, and blue : 

Those colours will together blend, and form a dingy grey ; 

And toads within their moss-grown pools will sing like thrushes gay." 

At this proposal Freya's breast with indignation swell'd, 

And thus with words of bitter scorn Lok's project she repell'd : 



CANTO XXVIII. 325 



*^ Were Freya to the giant's land disposed to go with thee, 
Must Freya terribly, forsooth, in want of husband be. 



But now the Asar, when the sun its earliest rays displayM, 

Assemble all to hold the Ting beneath YggdrassiPs shade. 

There, to avoid temptation, they did not Lok invite : 

But Lok icr visit Heimdal went towards the rainbow bright : 

Soft in his ear he whisperM, gave counsel, swore that zeal 

For Valhall had induced him that mission to fulfil : 

^^ The gods/* said he, '^ I know, 'gainst me a strong aversion have, 

But the whole thing, as thou perceiv'st, is of importance grave. 

Thee judgment lacks not ; my advice thou'st heard me frankly state ; 

Follow it, if it seem thee good: if not, reject it strait I 

But whatsoever be resoiv'd, let it be quickly done, 

For execution the design should follow hard upon. 

Heimdaller who had heard what past 'tween Lok and Thrymur grim 

At th' entrance of the grot, and knew, Lok did not lie this time, » 

Approved of the proposal, and took the counsel well : 

The worm thus often pierceth the nut with hardest shell." 



Then Asa-Heimdal at the Ting thus spake aloud : *' 'Tis time 
The giants' pride to tame, methinks, and vanquish Jotunheim. 
To raise them to the rank of gods, that oft we've done ; thereby 
Our strength we lost not: doth not Niord fierce Skada mollify ? 
And iEgir with his potent arm check Rana's perfidy ? 
Young Gerda dotes upon her spouse ; she 's full of charm and grace; 
She gave Skidbladner to the gods ; she's of a better race : 
Women with coal-black hair from her descend, within whose blood 
The flame of love more ardent glows. Say I were not Lok a god. 



396 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

What mischief might he not effect in regions void of light ? 
And hath not oft the moon bestowM the power of day on night ? 
But should light*s ray, deserting heaven, descend into th' abyss, 
Would not for ever disappear our glory, strength, and bliss ? 
Shall we then Freya cede? ah no ! by the great gods, I swear, 
Valhall a joyless waste would prove, if Freya were not there. 
Iduna^s fruit of health and youth accords, 'tis true, the power, 
But Freya His who sows the seed of love's delightful flower : 
We all admire her ; when the gods she folds in her embrace, 
The ecstacy that fills their soul what tongue hath power to trace ? 
And shall that lovely Disa depart from us for aye? 
Shall mist for ever darken Folkvangur's vivid ray ? 
And must that bosom soft and fair against the hairy breast 
Of the rough giant throb, and by his rugged hand be prest? 
Shall lips, which utter tones so mild, and soul unite with soul, 
Be soil'd by the disgusting kiss of such a goblin foul? 
Shall eyes, whose soul-subduing rays a power resistless prove, 
Be doom'd to contemplate a form impossible to love? 
No ! rather let Yggdrassil's top in Nastrond's marsh corrode, 
Or Bifrost sink dissolved in dew to i£gir^s deep abode !. 
Myself, who on the brink of heaven must watchful stand in arms, 
I can but catch a fleeting glimpse of Freya's matchless charms : 
But when, each morning, crownM with flowers she o'er my bridge 

[doth pass. 
With fecundating smile the realm of mother Earth to grace. 
With tenfold zeal inspired, in hand my Gialler-horn I take; 
Its joyous tones to love of life and strength mankind awake : 
Quitting his nest, then soars the lark towards the celestial height ; 
At housand carols to the world proclaim with loud delight, 
ThatFreya's soul-enchanting smile hath bless'd Heimdaller's sight." 



CANTO XXVm. 327 

Heimdaller^s words find no dissent : the Asars^ hearts they move ; 
And Freya's eyes rewarded him with such sweet looks of love, 
He bhish'd like morn, when through night's veil the day begins to 

[break : 
Tears glistenM in his radiant eyes, and roIlM adown his cheek. 



Heimdaller then Lok^s plan explained, and spoke : *^ Ye Asar high ! 
His hammer Thor will neVr regain, unless we mystify 
The amorous giant : as ye know, he seeks a bride more fair 
Than those he 's been accustomed to, in his dark mountain lair. 
Unused to females, who possess grace, beauty, symmetry. 
To dupe the giant's senses coarse no arduous task would be. 
If Thor will but consent to dress in feminine attire, 
There is a bride at once most fit to cool the giant's fire ! 
Let Thor like Freya be array'd : to further the deceit 
She'll not refuse, I trow, to lend the robes and jewels meet. 
Odin a lotion too can give of faculty divine 
To wash off all callosity and roughness from the skin. 
Thor then, with face as white as meal, and cheek as red as blood, 
Will lose his shaggy beard, 'tis true, but not his hardihood. 
Let the famed necklace Brising about his neck be wound ; 
There in exchange for Miolner a bride at once is found ! 
Before his bosom two round stones we'll fix within his vest, 
And there, in outward form at least, appears a woman's breast! 
And these when wrapp'd in scarlet cloth, at the bare sight will (ill 
With sulphur all the giant's veins, and cause his blood to thrill. 
A bonnet with a long white veil to grace his brows were meet *, 
And bunch of keys, tied to his waist, the bridal dress complete. 
Loktoo, as waiting- maid attired, with Thor shall bend his way 
To Utgard's realm : he'll not refuse, 1 guess, this part to play. 



326 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 



Then, when Thor sits upon the couch in the dark giant's dome, 
When bearing Mi5lner in their arms the black dwarfs forward come, 
WhenThrymur, drunk with love, shall place the hammer on Thor's 

[breast, 
What then Thor has to do, methinks, I need not here suggest. 
In Heimdal Uwere presumption great, by words or argument. 
To teach great Asa-Thor the use of his own instrument/' 

With joy the Disar clapp'd their hands, and with each other vied, 
Delighted with the stratagem, to dress up Thor as bride. 
The gods indulge in hearty laugh ; Yggdrassil flouts the sky ; 
Its branches green wave o'er the roof of Yalhall gloriously. 
Balder, Forsete, Mimer were absent from the Ting, 
And mightily this favoured Lok*s project. Drupner ring 
On Odin's finger droppM, indeed, on the grass others nine, 
And fain, to its construction true, would warn its lord divine : 
But the Asynior's laughter gay banishM from Odin's breast 
All scruples; so that Loptur's guile he deem'd a harmless jest. 
Thor did indeed remonstrate : ^^ How? as female, Thor appear? 
Unheard of I ne'er can I consent the female garb to wear." 
But Freya with her lily hand patted his cheek, and lo! 
All scruples vanished from his breast, all wrinkles from his brow. 
'^ 'Tis true," said Freya, ''mortal man composed of wretched dust 
Must by his nature ever be a victim to mistrust ; 
Must ever guard himself against the influence of hate. 
Which ne'er the most illustrious deeds fails to calumniate ; 
But Thor in Trudvang rules; who dare his acts divine arraign P 
Surely to aid a humorous freak his godhead cannot stain." 

Young FuUa, bearing Freya*s robes, now enter'd in the hall ; 
But Odin's hand must widen them; for Thor they were too small 



CANTO XXVllI. 329 

But to give him a slender waist their utmost efforts fail, 
For he was stout, and would not move without his coat of mail. 
Now on his breast the two round stones twas Hermod's task to place ; 
At this the fair Valkyrior blushM, and laughM, and hid Iheir face. 
Now they suspend about his neck the necklace, Brising bight, 
With many a ruby rich adom'd, and many a diamond bright. 
Now to the face and neck of Thor Odin applied his hand ; 
All roughness vanishM at the touch : white, delicate and bland 
Became his skin ; no hue remainM, which Thor could designate. 
Now round his brazen helm a cap with long white veil they plait ; 
He donM his gloves, and Megingard around his girdle laced, 
To act with force, when in his hand his Miolner should be placed. 

Now red they take to paint his cheek ; they cut his nails ; when drest, 
A sprig of whitethorn in full bloom they fasten to his breast. 
Now round the god travestied thus th* Asynior young and gay, 
Like children at a fav'rite game, delighted frisk and play: 
^' Thrymurl gallant Thrymurl" in chorus loud they chime, 
^' Hast thou ne'er been love's vassal, thou'lt not escape this time.^* 
To harness now and yoke the goats was TialPs peculiar care : 
Then Thor and Lok in female garb ascend the golden car. 
Thus down o'er Bifrost's dizzy height, in Freya's robes array'd, 
Drove Asa-Thor ; a tinge of rose the vault of heav'n o'erspread. 
As the car pass'd, Hei.mdaller blew his horn in glorious style. 
The virgins nine salute the god with fascinating smile. 
Seen from the earth, like meteor bright the golden car appearM ; 
This time no thunder shook the poles ; no forked lightnings glared : 
The car athwart the azure sky s^ift glided like a swan ; 
Therein sat Tialfe, Asa-Lok, and Thor, the giants' bane. (3) 



THE UAHHBR OF TUOR RECOVERED. 



Seated in bis golden car, 
Gliding swift as shooting sUr, 
Tbor, with Loplur by his »de, 
Towards (he giant's dwelling hied. 
Lok on treason ever bent, 
Pleased his foes to circumvent. 
At the triumph of his guile 
Chuckled with malignant smile. 



Now tremble the rocks I they proceed on their way ; 

The mounlains a wide yawning entrance display ! 

But only half open the portal was found ; 

And a flame often flash'd through the darkness profound. 



CANTO XXIX. 331 



Black as jet, but streakM with flame, 
Thrymur to the portal came : 
There the giant proud and strong 
Tower'd amidst his vassal throng I 
On his brows a diadem 
Decked with many a brilliant gem. 
Now he greets, with conscious pride. 
Graciously his beauteous bride. 



At the porch as his life-guards six monarchs behold ! 
One glittVing in Silver ; one flaming in Gold ; 
One in Iron dark blue ; one in Copper bright red ; 
White in Tin was this chieftain ; that, sable in Lead. 



From the car the gods descend : 
Thrymur see ! his hand eitend 
To conduct his fancied spouse : 
High his blood with passion glows. 
Many a gloomy corridor 
Must the Asar pass, before 
They can reach the gianf s throne. 
Shining in the vast saloon. 



Each gem, like a princess so fine and so fair, 

Graced the hall : sprightly Ruby, gay Emerald was there ; 

Mild Sapphire, and Diamond so regal in mien : 

Their splendid tiaras enliven the scene. 



332 THB OOD8 OP TH£ NORTH. 

Through the humid caverns, where 
SuDbeam ne'er hath cheer'd the air, 
Thor moves onward, free from dread, 
By his giant consort led. 
Little dwarfs, the way to show, 
Foremost march the gallVies through, 
Holding each a sulphur brand 
Blazing in his rugged hand. 



Half concealM in a corner, and far from the light, 
There stand the shield-bearers, all ready For fight : 
There was sour*featur*d Vitriol, and Arsenic fell, 
Whose look would the stoutest assailant repel. 



Like a little child in mien. 
Pale and cross was Cobalt seen : 
Oft it stared with ghastly frown. 
Sitting on the gelid stone. 
Through the hall its fetid breath 
Spread around a scent of death : 
Legs it had not, but a pad 
Crown'd its venom*swelter'd head. 



In the midst of the hall blazed a coal-coverM pyre, 
And the giants assembled in troops round the fire : 
Cuirasses they wore on their hair-coverM breasts, 
And defiance they breath'd with their high- waving crests. 



CANTO XXIX. 333 



Echoing now the rocks among 
Loud they chaunt a magic song : 
Like the dismal yell its sound 
Of the agonizing hound, 
When its belly drips with gore 
Torn by tusk of angry boar, 
While his bowels o'er the plain. 
Gasping short, he trails with pain. 



Dame Hela two chieftains illustrious had sent 

From her palace ; they both were of regal descent : 

Consumption, in gorgeous apparel array'd ; 

Plague, with spots on his robe, and all conquering blade. 



Sole of all the giant race 
Lok of Utgard did not grace 
Thrymur's hall that marriage night : 
Visions dire his mind affright. 
Treason doth he apprehend ; 
Carrion scents his nose offend. 
In a corner now was spread 
DeckM with skins the nuptial bed. 



While all the old giants and infants were stow'd. 
Wrapt in sleep, in the sovereign of Utgard's abode, 
Each grown male and female, each maiden and swain 
To assist at the marriage of Thrymur remain. 



336 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Then a female black as coal, 
With short frizzled hair like wool ^ 
Entered in the festive hall ; 
Young was she, smooth skinn'd, and tall 
On her brows a crown she wore, 
Emblem of her regal power : 
While around her waist a zone 
Deck'd with many a jewel shone. 



*^ Come, sister ! His time (so a truce to your blushes) 
To couch with your bridegroom on bed of dry rushes : 
As consort of Thrymur Til hail thee at morn ; 
And iQany a gem shall thy temples adorn. '* 



Now to fetch the shaft divine, 
Giant Thrymur made a sign. 
'^ In the bosom of my bride 
Be it pfaced I" the giant cried. 
^* Tis the hour of midnight; now 
Must be sworn the'marriage vow : (I) 
Now by Miblner^s iron bright 
Mutual faith and troth weUl plight.'' 



Scarce was utterM the order, when in came a troop 
Of dwarfs bearing Miolner ; and oft must they stoop : 
Scarce sufficient were they, though their number was great, 
And they gasp and they groan under Miolner^s vast weight. 



CANTO XXIX. 337 



When the Asa held at last 
In his hands the hammer fast, 
Pleased was he its nib to view 
Shining with reflection blue : 
Then he raised his stature up 
To the very cavern's top : 
Roird his eye-balls flashing flame ! 
Red, blood-red his cheek became ! 



The head-dress and veil from his helmet drop down ; 
Indignant he tore from his body the gown : 
With the beard on his chin, and the scars on his breast, 
The broad-shoulder'd champion as Thor stood confcst ! 



Berserk fury in his eye. 
Now he swung his arm on high ! 
While he dealt his deadly blows, 
Higher still his courage rose. 
Who shall now the carnage trace 
, Of the wretched Jotun race ? 
Ha! what bloody torrents roll 
From each giant^s cloven skull I 



When Thrymur was kill'd, armM with club and with spear, 

Darting forth from their caverns fresh giants appear : 

But Thor hammerM round him as brisk as Vaulunder, 

When he beats on his anvil the iron asunder. 

27 



S»8 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

Hrugner now, a man of stone, (2j 
Onward moved with haughty frown, 
While his eyes with ghastly glow 
HurFd defiance on the foe: 
'Stead of heart, within his breast 
Was a granite fragment placed ; 
Twas Ihree-corner'd; there it stood 
Void of feeling, void of blood. 



And lo 1 for the giants a figure of clay 

Of aspect ferocious now join'd in the fray ! 

His bosom was filFd with the heart of a horse ; 

Strong and mighty it made him, and swift at the course. 



Now 'gainst Hrugner naught ahirmM 
Thor advanced with Mi6lner arm'd. 
On the club of Hrugner, lo ! 
Thor inflicts a deadly blow ! 
With such energy Hwas given, 
Urugner's mace was piecemeal riven. 
While its scattered fragments fall, 
Frightful clattering round the hall. 



But the clay-fashionM chieftain was Mokkurcalf bight : 
He struck on his shield, and presumed on his might ; 
But, pierced by the sword of young Tialf in the fray, 
The horse-fiend tell down with a horrible neigh. 



CANTO XXIX. 339 



Now was heard the dying moan, 
Many a shriek and many a groan ! 
Thor was dreadful in his ire ; 
Naught could tame his warlike fire. 
Thousand giants round him lay, 
Victims of the bloody fray. 
Down like tool of paviour fell 
Miolner with a ponderous peal. 



Now, reeking with blood, sprang the treacherous Lok 
'Mongst the wounded, like Nidding, their miseries to mock; 
When he met with a giant all drench'd in his gore 
And dying, he laugh'd, and he stabbed him once more. 



Now there reign'd a silence deep, 
As when winds and billows sleep 
On the coast : with gloomy mien 
Thor beheld the frightful scene. 
From the giants' dark abode, 
Fill'd with mangled limbs and blood , 
Every vital spark had fled : 
All was silent ! all was dead ! 



In vain all their courage the giants display ; 
With eyes closed in death, like mowM rushes they lay : 
Naught reraainM of their strength or their valour behind ; 
From their bodies hath fled the invincible mind. 



340 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

As the lion, when his might 
Hath ^ctorious proved in fight, 
Viewing now his vanquished prey 
Breathless, bleeding, fore him lie. 
With revenge no longer bums. 
All his rage to pity turns, 
And the beasts' high-minded chief 
Ruminates in silent grief ; 



Thus Thor, when his fury was o'er, look'd and sigh'd 
Deep in silence and pensive, his victims beside : , 
But Lok, like the lynx, from his lips licking gore, 
Grinn'd with cruel delight, and still thirsted for more. 



CEK®® XXX. 



THE VALAS PROPHECY. 



As Thor sat silent, and the fight was o^er, 
Slow from the giants* blood a smoke arose, 
And white and thick the vapour spread itself ! 
Trembling with guilt and fear Lok veiPd his face. 
At length the smoke, dissolving by degrees, 
Developed a gigantic female form : 
Silent she stood ; her eyelids were half-closed ; 
Her visage pale as death : through all the caves 
Glimmered a lurid flame. Upon the brow 
Of Lok glared visibly the stamp of crime. 



The mountain dame long contemplated Thor 
With look serene, though stern : the god remained 
Mournful and mute. At length a sigh exhaled 
Of deep compassion from her laboring breast : 
Grave was her aspect; in each feature reignM 
The calm of peace : peculiar tenderness, 
MixM with severity, restrained her wrath. 



342 THR GODS OF THE NORTH. 

'^ Sad tidings have I to announce to thee, 
Thor!" thus she began ; ''for thou hast soil'd 
Thy honour : Lok hath taught thee how to sin. 
But for a short time longer shalt thou hear 
Thy Mi5lner : sore it grieves me to announce 
Thy fall, O Thor! for thou art good and brave, 
And dear to me for aye will be thy name. 
But the whole Ocean cannot wash away 
The rust that stains thy shield ; then listen now 
Calmly to what I shall unfold, and learn 
From me thy future late ! Though all creation 
To ashes bum, yet that which is eternal 
No flame consumes ; His only the foul mask 
That bursts, and falls to dust. 

I sing to thee 
A song of heavy import, '' the World^s End." 
Into Valhalla's realm shall find its way 
Corruption leagued with pain : with splendour false 
Dazzled your eyes become, like those of man : 
This deeply moves the pious Balder's heart; 
He warns, but warns in vain; unheeded still 
Remains his counsel sage : the heavenly Frigga 
Now to a mere terrestrial Hertha sinks : 
In Freya's look voluptuousness alone 
Predominates and burns : ferocious Thor 
Becomes, and Odin weak: then Lok shall weave 
His woof of treach'ry and deceit : all things 
Forebode the fall of the degenerate world : 
Frivolity with vice reigns close allied ; 
Then bursts thy roof of pearl, Breidablik ! 



CANTO XXX. :u:j 

Lok in the dark the fatal arrow guides ; 

DrownM in fraternal blood affection lies : 

The corpse of Balder decks the pyre : the race 

Of Alfer disappear from Valaskialf : 

Peace is compeird to abdicate her reign, 

While war and pestilence rage uncontroll'd. 

Now every day still more and more corrupt 

Becomes the race of Askur; no respect 

Is paid to oaths : i' th^ hand of brutal force 

The glaive tyrannic crushes and dethrones 

Truth, piety, and justice : idols grim 

Of stone, or wood, or brass, alone are worshipp'd, 

Where whilom burnt a pure and holy flame. 

Now men are sacrificed at Odin's shrine 

Like cattle : many a gentle maiden drownM 

In Hertha's honour in the mystic grove. 

Where then shall innocence protection find ? 

The probity so famed of th' olden time 

Hath vanished from the earth : but Lok ! thy joy 

Shall be of short duration ; thou shalt fall 

A victim to thy own insidious arts -, 

Thou first didst cruelty to th' Asar teach, 

And cruel shall thy expiation be. 

In a deep subterranean cave shalt thou 

Be captive held, and rage and foam in vain : 

The Asar in their wrath shall seize and fasten 

Thy body to a rock : one peak shall bear 

Thy shoulder, one thy loins, and one thy knees. 

No one for thee the smallest pity feels : • 

Thy sons each other shall, like wolves, devour, 



a44 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

And their intestines bind their guilty sire. 
Yet true and faithful shall remain thy spouse, 
And she alone ; and though the serpents huge 
Hang venom-breathing o^er thee, pair by pair, 
Dropping their foam on thee but half alive, 
Yet Sigyn's gentle nature shall not fail; 
Assiduous she will stretch a vessel forth 
To shelter from the dropping venom him, 
Who once was dearly lovM : the vase, when fillM, 
She carries out ; then on thy festerM wounds 
And lips the poison falls; writhing with pain 
Thou tremblest ; at the shock earth trembles too. 
Then Odin hurls his javelin wide around. 
Slaying the wretched denizens of earth 
To gorge himself with plunder : blood doth cleave 
E^en to the robe of peace : where then repose 
Can find the weary wandVer ? lo I Guldveige 
Advances, goddess like I her shrine of gold 
Is worshippM fervently o*er hill and vale. 
She can the wildest wolf with fetters bind, 
Yet she capricious to the worst of men 
Accords her favours, and is prodigal 
Of treasure to the vile and base alone. 



Then is good counsel in Valhalla scarce, 
For Mimer hath long since the sacred grove 
Abandoned in despair, and in a well 
Dwells like a reptile.^ Odin, true, his eye 
Has given in pledge to him, that he may see 



CANTO XXX. 315 

More clear athwart the murkiness, but vain 

The gift; more dim doth Mimer's sight become. 

The vaults wide gaping of the rocks present 

The aspect of a coffin ! Nastrond's gulf 

Opes its tremendous jawS) where serpents foul 

Hiss and exhale their poison all around, 

MixM with the flame of sulphur burning blue ! 

Into that gulf fall headlong down the men 

Who never felt repentance; round their limbs 

The speckled serpents coil, intent to bite : 

Huge as an ox, with formidable spring 

Conscience, the giant scorpion, tears the heart 

Of th' vicious with its fangs : deep in their flesh 

Fell Nidhog revels with insatiate tooth : 

Flames crackle loud in the abyss profound, 

And Bragur's harp divine is heard no more. 

Down in Hvergelmer Elivagor roars ; 

On every coast by shipwreck lives are lost : 

The ancient firs and oaks with branches bare 

Uprooted lie : the moon is swallowM up 

By Maanegarm : the sun, like out-burnt coal, 

Grows dark, while loud the giants^ laugh resounds 

To mock the Asar with insulting gibe. 

Deep in the bosom of the mountain now 

Shall Utgard-Lok his progeny excite 

With eloquence indignant to avenge 

The death of their forefathers. Fialar now, 

The blood-red cock, is heard to crow ! the dog 

Yells loud and oft before the cave of Gnypa ! 

Then Hela opes her gates with frightful clang ! 



346 THE (JODS OF THE NORTH. 

With golden helms, and yellow tresses bright 

Wide streaming through the air, to battle ride 

The proud Valkyrior : the decrees of fate 

The Nornor now no longer can conceal. 

Then days of tempest, war, and pestilence 

And foul revolt arise : his brother's life 

The brother spareth not : no mercy shows 

Man, flushed with battle, to his fellow man. 

Shakes with affright YggdrassiPs top, and straight 

Becomes the prey of flames ! the Asar tremble, 

And terror reigns upon their brows divine. 

Sighs from the rack and groans re-echo loud 

The miseries of the earth : upon the bridge 

Heimdaller perch'd blows fearfully his horn 

To rouse all nature to th* eternal strife ; 

While Jormundgardur lifts his head and hisses. 

With vapours dark the rainbow, once so bright. 

Becomes obscured : down ride the Asar: Bifrost 

Breaks down with frightful crash : the sky sucks up 

The vapour like a swamp : the heavens thus lose 

Their brightest ornament ; while Naglefare, 

With giants fiUM, through noisome weed-choked marsh 

Forces its way ; the black flag at the mast 

Triumphant waves ; Lok, prince of Utgard, stands 

Himself exulting at the prow, and calls 

Aloud for battle I All the giant band 

With clash of shields re-echo loud the cry ! 

Now Fenris breaks his chain ; he howls aloud, 

And hails the giants with applauding yell. 

His foam covers the ocean ; with affright 



CANTO XXX. 34 

The stars fall headlong down from heav'n, and sink 
With hissing noise, extinguished, in the sea. 
Upon the waters all the fish lie dead : 
Now slowly rising from the south advances 
A column thick of vapour I joy pervades 
The giants' hearts, when they behold the flame 
Athwart the sultry vapour burning blue. 
'Tis Surtur, whom the vast abyss sends forth, 
Of the most frightful darkness puissant chief, 
Grasping in both black hands his steel-blue glaive. 
Now towards Valhalla's realm he seems to move ; 
Now towards the earth : he rolls along the sky, 
And vapours foul, and bowlings horrible 
Conglomerate around his dusky brow. 
But who 'gainst Surtur rushes to the fight ? 
'lis Frey ; but he turns (iale, for now his sword 
He hath not : hark ! a trampling loud is heard 
Of horses' hoofs : 'tis Odin ; see ! he hastes 
To join the combat, boldly piercing through 
The thickest of the fight : upon his front 
The scars of Geirsodd bleed afresh : his steed 
is white ; a golden crest gleams on his hel^i : 
With Gugner (1) arm'd he rushes on the wolf ! 
Alas ! by Fenris' jaws Valhalla's lord 
Is seiz'd and swallow'd up I — a morning ray 
Of purple shines afar with gUmm'ring light — 
'Tis Odin's blood. — Now Frigga in the sky 
Is seen wringing her hands, with aspect pale : 
She strives grave Vidar's courage to excite : 
Like whirlwind in the midst of vapour forth 



348 THE GODS OF THE NORTH. 

She sends her son. Vidar no longer now 

Keeps silence ; fearfully he groans and sighs : 

His eyes flash fire, but with extended jaws 

Fenris, the wolf, rushes to meet his foe, 

Gnashing his frightful teeth : but Vidar soon 

Overcomes the wolf, as were he but a whelp : 

He throws him on his back, tears out his tongue, 

And tramples him to death beneath his feet. 

At length arrives a great important hour, 

For now to vapour by the power of fire 

The waters all dissolve, and the white sand 

Of ocean's depth extreme is bared to view. 

Now Jormundgardur feels the burning heat, 

And writhes impatient with sensation strange, 

Unused on land to fold himself in coils. 

See with uplifted hammer Thor approach ! 

So fierce a combat ne'er was seen before : 

The snake with cunning strives around the limbs 

Of Thor, in brazen armour cased, to wind 

His dark blue rings, while on the monster's scales 

The hero's hammer deals repeated blows. 

Long and uncertain lasts the awful fight ; 

At length is heard a hideous scream ; for now 

Victorious Thor hath given the mortal blow, 

And tramples with his heel the monster's head. 

But in the agonies of death around 

The hero's feet the serpent winds his folds 

Still closer, and with venom-spreading foam 

Bedews the conqueror's front, and groans and dies. 

Thor stands victorious ; but too soon grows pale ; 



CANTO XXX. 31« 

He staggers ; now he rallies ; now again 
Staggers nine paces ; and sinks down in death ! 
So heart-appalling is thy dying look, 
Thor ! th' Asynior all expire of grief : 
They feel it like a dagger in their heart. 
Garm destroys Tyr ; but Tyr in dying pierces 
The monster's heart : now from his lurking-place, 
Like cat, springs Lok, and brandishes on high 
A sulfurous torch from Nastrond ; on his brow 
Glitters a brazen helm : Heimdaller moves 
'Gainst him with sword uplifted, one blow strikes, 
And down to Nastrond sinks th' eternal foe. 
Then vanishes like colours in the night 
Heimdaller's self: the dwarfs are heard to sigh 
Deep in the rocks ; they die of fright ; yet shines 
Awhile the golden car of Thor ; but soon 
It disappears : the two white goats expire. 
But lately gleam'd a feeble light, but now 
'Tis utterly extinguished : all creation 
Sinks overwhelmed in one vast shower of blood. 
Alfader reigns once more sole lord of all. 



With mind reluctant hitherto have 1 

A strain interpreted of presage dire, 

The world's destruction, and the Asar's fall. 

But listen now to a more pleasing theme. 

The hope and consolation that ensue ! 

From ocean's depth a new-form'd earth shall spring I 

The azure wave reflect the new-spun grass ! 

Again adown the rock the cataract fall, 



330 THE GODS OF THE NOUTH. 

0*er which clouds fleeti(ig pass, and eagles soar I 

On Ida's plain the Asar all assembled 

Again awake to new-framed life and joy ! 

All recolieclion of the ancient strife 

Is banish*d from their minds; a new-born child, 

A graceful daughter hath the sun produced, 

Who shall upon her mother's well-known path 

All glorious move, but far more beautiful 

Than her, by all so dearly loved and prized. 

The human race shall likewise be restored 

To life from their long slumber : now awake 

Lif and Liftrasir, by the morning dew 

Refreshed and nourished : then shall every grief 

Seem but remembrance of a painful dream. 

The Asar all shall to the grove repair, 

Where amidst flowers the crystal fountain streams : 

In all his glory will Alfader then 

Reveal himself to man ; his buckler hold 

On high, glittering with runes, whose sense sublime 

Shall shield his children from all future harm. 

Tablets of gold, with golden counters deck'd, 

Shall in the grass be found, where violets 

Give fragrant odour : on each counter shines 

Each thought and action of a human life. 

The facts of old shall mere illusion prove. 

And medVine, what was whilom poison held. 

The com shall not the sower^s toil require, 

Rut spring spontaneous from the womb of earth : 

No serpent lurk beneath the flower; all evil 

Shall vanish : order, justice, truth and love 



CANTO XXX. ^r,l 

Eternally triumphant now shall reign. 

Then high ahove Valhalla's roof extends 

The dwelling of the hiest, the glorious Gimie, 

Pavilion of the Good ; an edifice 

Which naught can shake, naught injure or destroy. 

There shall the tender heart of Balder find 

True consolation ; there shall he again 

Embrace his brother Hsedur : Bragur too 

Shall press Iduna to his breast once more: 

Freya again her long lost Odur meet : 

Frey fold his faithful Gerda in his arms : 

Thor Sif embrace. All hearts shall cease to bleed. 

But Miolner is not to be found in Gimle : 

Behold I with smile of love inefTable 

Alfader gives to Thor a glaive, whose hilt 

Shines forth in form of cross with lilies graced. 

Now," said the Vala, **have my lips reveal'd 

All that time yet conceals : my solemn words 

Ponder, Thor ! for 1 must now depart, 

Becaird by him, at whose behest I came.'' 



Thus said, she sank into the yawning ground ! 
A fearful gust of wind howl'd through the rocks, 
And in the cave Thor found himself alone : 
His hammer in his bosom lay ; at once 
He recognized the fatal weapon. Tialfe 
Lay slumb'ring by his side : in heaps around 
The giants' bodies strew'd, all drench'd with gore, 
Bore witness to the prowess he displayed. 



S5i 



THE GODS OP THE NORTH. 



Thor DOW again ascends to Valaskialf : 

The Vala^s revelation he imparts 

To Odin : Odin and the Asar all 

Silent remain, immersM in thought profound ! 

Here ends my song about the Gods on high. 



NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 



NOTES TO THE FIRST CANTO. 



Specimen of the metre in the original. 

dtt 6a0t fttib Mcrt at ^i^re 

9)2cb gamtc 9ttttcr ftaacr ; 
£aaiier mts Sberl oere ! 

SDlenl icg (Butb^arpeti flaacr. 
j^oab i be morf e €friftf r 

& fat mcb ftiibrig j^u 

IDet vif jeg toff e nu. 

The dghl first Cantoi, In the original, are written In the same metre. 
In my translation^ as will be seen, I have Indulged in greater variety. 

(1) In the heathen time there was a magnificent temple at Upsala. The 
poet here probably alludes to some earthquake, or eonvvlslon of nature, 
which damaged or destroyed it, and which was therefore supposed to b« 
occasioned by Utgard-Lok, the chief of the gianls. 

(8) This Ash is the ash -tree Yggdrassil. See the Catalogue of proper 
names. 

(3) The Valkyrior. 

28 



338 N0TB8 AND ELUCIDATIONS. 

(4) By Ihe geven virgim are no doubt penonifiedtiie »even eoUunot Ihe 

rainbow. 

• « 

(5) By the mytbe of th^jdealb^^d resuscitation of Thor's goats, Is 
meant probably the death of nS^urer in winter, and her resuscitation in 
spring. By the marrow eaten by Tibps/nd the lameness of the goat occa- 
sioned thereby, k Is meant, that If the seed or germ of reproduction in 
animals or plants be damaged or destroyed, the reproduction becomes 
imperfect, or impossible. 

(6) The pact between Niord and iEgir means, that when Ihe sea is 
frozen by the north wind^ the weather is perfectly calm, and the sea itself 
passable as dry land. 

(7) What this hut turns out to be, is eiplained in the second Canto. 



NOTES TO THE SECOND CANTO. 



Specimen of the metre in the original. 

@om X^or met oaaoent Ocrc 
9tu tr&Oid fob i 9Rad/ 
tDii at ^ait fnart At ^bre 
Sf I'vart 00 vaclM^ir !8rad^ tu, 

(1) Qoblin-land : in the original Troldlutmpeltmdj from troUl (goblin) 
kwntpe (warrior) and land (land). The giants are oflen called Troldkoem- 
per. Who Skrymur tarns out to be, is explained in the slith Canto. 

(S) Respecting this glove, the following is Finn Magnussen's idea of 
the mytbe. Skrymur is the frost-giant, personification of winter. Tbor 
reposing In the glove denotes the beginning of winter, when the thunder or 
thunderer may be said to rest therein, allegoricaily ( there being no 
thunder in winter). This hieroglyph is very ancient, inasmuch as Ihe Ice- 



NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 339 

land&c word vollr (glot e) prooeeds probably from «efr (winter) ; the gloTC 
being the pari of dreis parlicalarly appropriate to and only uMd in winter 
in those times, as the muff is still, in northern Europe. 

(3) Respecting Skrymnr's wallet, which Thor is unable to untie or 
open, Finn Magnnssen says : "I thinlc this roythe is enigmatical, and 
alludes to winter (the frost-giant), which may be said to prevent man from 
getting his food from the earth, by envelopping it in ice." In the prosaic 
Edda, (Jtgard-Lok says, ineiplaining to Thor his magic spells, '' The 
wallet I gave to yoo, was made fast with an iron girdle ;" now there is a 
close analogy between the words denoting itt and trim in many of the 
Gothic languages. Ex : in Icelandic, tt (Ice) tffam(iron) ; in German, tit 
(ice) ehoi (iron) ; in Dutch, 0' (ice) ijztT (iron) ; in Anglo-Saion, in (ice) 
iten (iron). 

(4) The ancient northmen, who oriented themselves with the help of 
the mountains, figured to themselves the north as lying towards our east 

or north-east. This will serve to eiplain the phrase, ''mountains vast 
Hhlch towards the north appear. " The mountains lie really towards the 
east. Towards the north, on the contrary, the land becomes less and less 
elevated, as you draw near the pole. 



NOTES TO THE THIRD CANTO. 



Specimen of the metre in the original. 

(§n ^^^'X fail ufrolid 

3(0 nu f un^giore maa ; 
9!)lob UfsartS fterne OSolid 

^\\U U Itaempcc %oa%> 

(1) The name of this giantess is Angurbod : see the Catalogue of 
proper Names. 



340 NOTES AND BLUCIDATIONS. 

(8) Mu^fordtB anakeHtht serpent Jonnttodgtrd, type of the ocean, 
which surrouDds the etrth (Mldgard). Acoordlng to Ling, a Swedish poet, 
themythe of Lok and his three offsprlog, Feoris, Hela and Jormnndgard, 
may t>e thus eiplalned. Feoris denotes what is destroetive or prejadlcial 
in Fire : Hela denotes the deleterioos qoallties of the Earthy in deoompos' 
ing sohstances and ceasing rottenness : Jormondgard denotes the destroe- 
tive qualities of Waier : all these are caused by the action of Air (Lok or 
Loptor) miiing with Angurbod (impurity). The amour of Asa-LolK and 
Angurbod has some resemblance to the amour of the giant Typhon with 
Echidna, which produced the Chimera, Cerberus and Hydra of the Greek 
mythology. 

(3) The Hell of the christians is always represented by theologians as 
a place oietemaijire ; yet in the country where the religion of Odin pre* 
vailed, the Inhabitants, from ancient custom, could not refrain from con* 
sidering It sometimes as a place of eternal edd. At least, the idea some- 
times breaks out in the ballads composed long after the introduction of 
Christianity. In a Scottish ballad, for instance, inserted by Walter Scott 
in his '* Minstrelsey of ihe Scottish Border,*' there is the following 
stanza : 

O whaten a mountain is yon, she said, 

All so dreary ivi* frost and snow ? 
O yon is the mountain of Hell, he cried, 
Where you and I must go. 



NOTES TO THE FOURTH CANTO. 



Specimen of the original. 

iDa laa ret for (anl.Otie 
!Dcn f}ore Utsarbflab ; 

'X>tt funu vel ioxnoit, 
J^an f>U9 i i^u iaa ^\ab. 



NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 341 

For thii Canto, I have adopted a metre something similar to that used in 
Biirger's Leonora. 

(1) This vast and empty space is Qinnungagap. 

(8) The giantess Betsla. The Author, in his cosmogony, has adhered 
closely to the Edda. 



NOTES TO THE FIFTH CANTO. 



Specimen or the original. 

!Da ocb be brebc fBorbe 

^c jtAcmpcr tttttbt nu fab; 
Xo0 8of e mu til Orbe/ 

(Den numtvc fCfa g(ab/ etc. 

(1) Who this Gohlin turns out to be, is explained in the next Canto. 

(2) Little Thumb; so I translate TunmeUden, the name ofUtgard-Loli's 
racer; who he, the drinking-horn presented to Thor, the cat, and the old 
woman turn out be, all this is explained in the next Canlo. 

(S) I do not find in the Edda any mention of this feat; it is probably 
the poet's own inrention, and meant as a pendant to the episode of Mars 
and Venus. 

(4) Let no one be astonished, that the car of the goddess of love should 
he drawn by cats. Cats are the most ardent and persevering of lovers. 
The celebrated Spanish poet Lope de Vega has said of them, 

Los gatos en efeto 
Son del amor el indice perfeto. 
and in another place. 

Que cosa puede haber con que se iguale 
[ La pacienda de un gato enamorado ? 



342 NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 

(5) This combat between Thor and the giantefsea on the rO€k| Isle h al- 
luded to in the elder or poetic Edda^ in the chapter called ** Harbard's 
song/' Harbard makes Thor the following reproach, when the latter 
tells him that he had beaten and put to flight the giantesses on the isle of 
Hlesey : 

** Shamefully didst thou act, O Thor ! 
When thou didst l>eat women. 

Thor answers : 

Tbey were not women ; 
They were she- wolves ; 
They attacked me with iron clubs. 

The meaning of this, according to Finn Magnussen, is, that the noiious 
Tspours and tempest on Hlesey were dispersed by a thunderstorm ; and the 
iron clubi denote hailsionet. 

(6) The apple of Iduna. See the Catatogue. 



NOTES TO THE SIXTH CANTO. 



Specimen of the original. 

^a nu ben J^elt tiin ft>are 

9NtM tthi SOlarfen flob^ 
Kit ttttber J^imlen flarc/ 

^ct 9tom0(r V€b fin $ob^ etc. 

(1) The circumstance of the dwarf s face being veiled, means, that the 
tkmtgkt of Utgard-Lok couU not be divined by Thor. 

(2) It was a saying in the pagan time, when the ebb began, *' Thor 
drinks.** 



NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. »43 

The Author ha« adhered doMly to the prosaic Edd^ in bis narration of 
Thor'ft adrentwe in Utgard. 

With respect to the two Loka, and the difference between them, it is not 
a little curious to find that in the gospel of Nicodemus (one of those rejected 
by the council of Nice, chap, n, verses 2 and rollowing)^ Satan and the 
prince of hell are described as two distinct persons ; and when Satan in- 
forms the latter, that he has achieved for him a great conquest, by bringing 
captive to his realm no less a personage than Jesus Christ, the prince of 
hell, instead of thanking Satan for that service, loads him with reproaches 
for his unpardonable thoughtJesness, In bringing into his dominions a 
person by whom he (the prince of hell) had sustained a serious detriment, 
in the loss of sundry souls, whom Jesus Christ, in escapbg from hell, had 
carried off with him, and who, but for that visit, would stW have re- 
mained there. 

It is singular that this comparison should have escaped the notice, not 
only of Finn Magnussen, hot that of all the other commentators of the 
Edda, when discussing the subject of the two LoIls. I stumbled by mere 
chance three years ag^ on a copy of the apocryphal New Testament in 
German, and on reading the chapter above quoted, the idea of this ana- 
logy immediately and forcibly struck me. 



NOTES TO THE SEVENTH CANTO. 



Specimen of the original. 

Zf^ot moniie fig om$mU/ 
09 falleb viM fit fSUf ; 
X)( tigc/ ftbt ^ioi'bf 

&M (iabidt I'untt Hm ait. 



344 NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 

(1) In ampUfiiDg tbit ttania, I coold not avoid borrowing fomaUiing 
from Mason, in tbat beauliftil cboms of Elfrida, beginning, 

^'Say! will no wblle-robed ion of Ugbt/' 
and Ibe words 

'' Whose cheek bat emulates the peach's bloom, 
'* Whose breath the byaciotb*s perfdme, '* 

occurring to my memory, I made no scrapie of adopting them, and I am 
sure my readers will Tiew with an indalgent eye Ihis plagiarism. 

(%) The classical reader will be reminded in Ihis passage of the speech 
of Japiter to Venos, when she is woanded by Diomed : 

OV TOI, T§H99f 9fMf, t^^TtU WOXffftlfM 9fiyA, etC. 



NOTES TO THE EIGHTH CANTO. 



Specimen of the origioal. 

®ub X(«r/ bcfi Unbtrftacrf c/ 
9Sar tit iJ^ttfaa dram; 
<i^ tj»b fid intct macrf c/ 

!D90 t9f td bet bom 6f anv 
ttt 3cttfv bam tvrbc diatff t/ etc. 

By way of Tariety, 1 have adopted a trochaic metre for my translation of 
this Canto. 

(1) The serpent Jormundgard, type of humidity and its dangerous 
effects ; it is a happy idea of the poet to imagine all the serpent kind en- 
gendered by him. 

In every mythology the serpent seems to be the emblem of humidity and 
iU noxious qualities. The fable of Jormundgard has evidently given rise 
to the supposed existence of the kraken, or monstrous sea-serpent. 



NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 345 

' (2) According to the ScandioaTian belief, llie hair or those who fell in 
battle fell to the share of Odin, and the other half to Freya. Finn Mag- 
nossen tbinlu this to be a mistalKe, and that by Freya is meant Frigga, the 
wife of Odin. The allegory then becomes more clear : Odin typifies the 
heavens, Frigga the earth; the spirits of the slain ascend to Odin, their 
bodies remain with Frigga. 

Another very ingenious allegory lies in the nature of the nourishment 
used by Odin at the banquet of Valhalla. In the younger or prosaic Edda 
It is writton, '* The food that comes to his (Odin's) share, he gives to his 
two wolves, Gere and Frelce. He himself requires no solid food, for wine 
Is to him both meat and drink." In the elder or poetic Edda it is thus 
written In the chaptor called Grimnismal : 

The warlike highly honoured 

Father of heroes gives his food 

To Gere and to Freke ; 

For by wine alone 

Is the glorious Odin nourished." 

By this is meant, that In battle the spirits of the slain mount to heaven 
(Odin), while their bodies remain a prey to wolves, and other beasts of 
prey. Spirits are typified by wine, the most spirituous of all fermented 
liquors. 

The above quotations from the two Eddas aflbrd, perhaps, the best 
Illustration of the difference of their respective styles. 



NOTES TO THE NINTH CANTO. 



Specimen of the original. 

Drmen \aa vm ialttn ISuttb i J^a^tt, 
Btxatn^t t ^nUti Sactidfef a\)ct/ 
33rt9 ereenplanternc t>egrat9Ct. 



346 NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 

out ti(^m Hoh fri od UiCii^ ^VaUit/ 

^ceb ^an frugen fts t J^aten/ etc. 

and 80 on in lerceU. I bave preferred the heroic couplet for my transla- 
tion. 

(1) By Loptur'a daughter is no doubt meant the queen of death, Hela. 

This adventure of Thor with the serpent and giant Hymir is recounted 
in the prosaic Bdda. 

The story of Thor losing his hammer Miblner in the scales of the body 
of the serpent JormundganI has ar resemblance to the story of Jupiter losing 
his thunderbolts, and their falling into the hands of the giant Typhon, 
often represented as a dragon. Typhon, in Greek, means either the giant 
of that name, or a whirlpool : now Jormundgard typifies the ocean, and 
M miner, the thunderbolt. The Grecian mythe is to be found in the first 
and second Cantos of the Dionysiacs, or triumphs of Bacchus, in the cele- 
brated Greelt poem of Nonnus. These two mythes have a still closer 
resemblance in their denouement, as will be seen by a reference to the 
rSolcs of the 89th Canto of this work. 



NOTES TO THE TENTH CANTO. 



Specimen of the orig^inal. 

^an f icbcb ft^ iQh ^Q^htt ftatttf^tt 
(Si ^a\HH (Siatttt mcer ^am ima^t. 

' ^M feet fiam felD 6a(l9timncr t^ragc ; 
jgtan f>ittm Ictr h ipotttt &ttUx ; 

and so on in tercets and couplets. 1 bave adopled a free but rhymed 
metre for my translation. 



NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 347 

NOTES TO THE ELEVENTH CANTO. 

Specimen of the original. 

Xildi^ n^ttngne 
Xraef af eif f ov ! 
9ir fian bid cLtttv 
ICfKacf ftJibcr: 
(Qtl ttt ci wvtt 

fringe hu ISranb i 
^XoUt albrig. 

1 have given two translations of this Canto, one of which is an attempt lo 
imitate the metre of the original, in which CEhleDSchl^ger has successfully 
imitated the alliterative metre of the Icelandic poetry. 

(1) Lassie ; the liherty of using a Scottish word^may well be allowed in 
a translation from the Danish, since there is so much affinity between 
the Danish and the Lowland Scotch languages. 



NOTES TO THE TWELFTH CANTO. 

Specimen of the original. 

Jpan iah i fatten og tatnftt berpart/ 

j^ani ^aet9n ttam diaebte faa faare : 
Tiaat 6tf fig nu fpetter t tlanttn 9fa/ 

^a faelber ^uit moH^t Zaart. 

(1) Bjf leek and bgf ermd : a common method of swearing among the 
Scandinavians to this day. 

(2) fiauto-fffcm means a tombstone, or funeral monument. 

(3) Odin's eye, i.e. Ihe sun. 



^» NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 

(4) Bj ihU descripUoD, the poet has probably meant to designate the 
fossile formations of the earth. 

(5) The new hair made for Sif may possibly represent a meteor, comet, 
or shooting star, or perhaps Itghtrnny^ as connected wllh thunder (Thor). 
Finn Magnnssen thinlu thai, in this my the, £i/typiaes the eaHh, and her 
hair the rom, which is cut down by Lok (time), and reprodaced and gilded 
by him at the instigation of Thor ; i.e. the eleclricat beat of summer 
ripening the com. 

I hsTe^adopted a similar metre to the original in my translation of this 
Canto, but with greater prodigality of rhyme, the middle rhymes being only 
used by the author in the nine last sUnzas. 



NOTES TO THE THIRTEENTH CANTO. 



Specimen of the original. 

9fl*0Mn n^ met ^aenir hv9^ 

00 meb Zotti hta &€nb i 09l^at» flacrf ; 

!Dc ^enncftefTiff cffer htm paatod- 

(%il btt tiacnbc Mn ^anhf prdv fciv f^ani fSacrf) 

9ff At fibbf paa etoi i J^Iibffiafff 6tor 

{2>ar Obin traetr ben Qvmattfiommt (Dror ; 

eom fGanbriitdSmanb/ i eti^M^ttiH e^v 

^an aanber/ o^ filler felt fig 6to\)/ etc. 

In my translation of this Canto, I have adopted as a metre a stanza of 
eight lines, generally of ten syllables each, but admitting occasionally 
lines of eight or twelve syllables ; the arrangement of the rhymes is varied. 
It is in fact exaaiy the same metre u that adopted by Schiller, in his 
translation of the second and fourth Books of the iEneis, and by Wieland, 
In his poem of Idris and Zenide. 



NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. S49 

(1) Jarl : a title of nobility In Norway, correiponding to that of ooant ; 
tbe English title, earl, is derived tberefrom. 

(2) This eagle is the giant Thiasse,irho look that form, in order to get 
Asa-Lok Into his power, and compel him to carry off Iduna, the guardian 
of the apples of Immortality, fh>m Asagard. 

(3) Alia Utmaea; so the Italians term that style of wreathing the hair. 



NOTES TO THE FOURTEENTH CANTO. 



*'. 



Specimen of the origmal. 

eom iSiitten (lacfcr fitn Un Um 6f 9/ 
<Baa 0»iiibcr (vet SBcbrift i Soid^cbm ; 
Q^cn {891dc fan!/ ten rcifcr (tg v^^ nv/ 
Od dampen (cder (cflenbc met ^rebeit ; 
6nart Mtnft &mxI, fnart ruftc U i 6febcn. 
* ' ^vab cr Ut aft 7 ®r flodtigt OiddicmotC/ 
®n 6ommerfttdt/ font parreb fig — od bdbc. 



1 much wished to adopt, as a metre for the translation of this Canto, the 
Spenserian stanza, bat I found it too dllBcult. I therefore adopted a metre 
of my own invention, viz., a stanza of nine lines, eight of which have ten 
syllables, and the ninth, which rhymes with thesiith and eighth, has twelve. 
The arrangement of the rhyme is regular throughout, and it appears to me 
that this metre has something of the march and harmony of the Spenserian 
stanza. 

(1) In this stanza the poet means probably to convey the idea, that who- 
ever wishes to succeed in his profession, whatever it be, must aim at ei« 
cellence and immortality. 



350 NOTBS AND ELUCIDATIONS. 

(8) Kattegat means PoMtage qf the Cai^ so called from its danger, aris- 
ing from the frequency of tempests. The poet begins here to trace the 
calamities and deterioration caused to the world by the absence of Iduna. 

(8) Yggdrassil ; see this name in the Alphabetical Catalogue. Yggdrassil, 
the mythological ash-tree, is called by the Scalds ** the tree qflffe," There 
is a Christmas ceremony at this day in Germany, wherein an artificial tree, 
generally made of fir, bears on its branches various little presents for chil- 
dren, for which they draw lots. May not this tree trace its origin from 
Yggdrassil, the tree of life, which distributes to the haman race their dif- 
ferent lots ? 

The human race has often l>een compared by poets to a tree, and the 
generations of manlund to its leaves. Homer has, 

(4) Odin's ravens ; their names are Hugin (thooghl), and Mwan (me- 
mory. Finn Magnussen thai explains the mytbe of the rape of Iduna by 
the giant Tbiasse : 

Iduna represents the mild air of spring, which gives renovated life and 
animation to all nature. Tbiasse represents winter, and the carrying off 
of Iduna typifies the disappearance of all genial warmth at the approach of 
winter ; her deliverance from the prison of Tbiasse denotes the return of 
spring ; Tbiasse being burnt to death In the hale-fire of Breidablik, denotes 
the melting and disappearance of ice by the heat of the son at the approach 
of summer. The rape and the deliverance of iduna are both effectuated 
through the agency of Asa-Lok, who typifies time and its vacillating nature, 
now impelled to good, and now to evil. 



NOTES TO THE FIFTEENTH CANTO. 

Specimen of the orifrlnal. 

*^a be ft'tit ^al^a« ®ubcr 
S^tomOrcb enb i OeflenS £anb/ 



NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 351 

gfemt f «fleii i»m ^itt^tt, ' ' *^ 
OUer bet (fiottttc (BiniHn ; " ' • 
Sor be (}tb til moxUn biogc/ 
smob ben folbc ^ipvcblof/ 
j^t9or be (toge 
Setretl J^aer 00 (Dvaerge* 5<«»^ 

The metre I have adopted for my tranalation of this Canto is of my own 
invention ; it may be thought fantastic, but in its trochaic form it has 
something of the march of the original. 1 leave the first, third, and fifth 
line nnrbymed, with a double close. 

(1) Vaner : see the article Vaner and Vanah'cim in the Alphabetical 
Catalogue. 

(8) Gianistan; by Oinniatan is probably meant Persia or Armenia. 
My friend Dr. Constancio suggests to me, that the word may be derived 
from Zend, the actual «ame of a tribe of Curds, and signifying in Persian 
life, Uvinjft and figuratively vigoroM, The word Zend, with the additidif ' 
of If an (country, in Persian), comes very near the word Ginnistan. 

(S) The circumstance of Niord i>eing given as a hostage to the Asar 
pleads in favour of the hypothesis I have already given, namely, that 
Niord and his children Frey and Freya were Assyrian or Persian divinities^ 
adopted by the Asar, and incorporated in their religion. Frey, the son 
of Niord, typifies the sun at the winter solstice, and the festivities of the 
new year in the pagan time were instituted to do him honour. His 
father Niord presides over the winds and waves ; but Balder also typifies 
the sun (at its highest elevation), and ^gir is the god of the sea. The 
fact is, that in the Scandinavian mythology there are two sun-gods and firo 
gods of the sea. The explanation of this seeming incongruity is not diflS- 
cult. Among the Asar, Balder was the sun god, and ^gir the god of the 
sea; hut among the Vaner, Niord was the god of the winds and waves, 
Frey typified the sun, and his sister Freya the moon. When the political 
alliance took place between the Asar and the Vaner, the former adopted 
some of the divinities of the latter, and in consequence of this amalgama- 



352 NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 

tion, Niord, Frey and Freya received suitable posts in the GoUiic pantbeon. 
It is remarkable, tbat among the ancient Egyptians the sun was called 
Phre. Among Ibe Greeks^ Bacchus often typified the sun, and by the 
llomans he was called Liber, which has exactly the same meaning as the 
word Frey, vii./ree. 

(4) By Niord's drying up marshes and dispelling vapours may be meant 
the salubrious efiects of the north wind. 

(5) Odur ; this description will remind the classical reader of Bacchus. 

It seems to me that the appellation Goth was not known in Scandinavia 
previous to the invasion of the Asar, and that these last assumed the name 
of Goths (good and brave men), when they introduced their religion Into 
that country. This idea leads me also to surmise, that as long as the Asar 
remained in Asia, the name Hrimthusser (frost-giant), and not Jetter or 
Jotun, was applied to the evil spirits of their mythology ; and that it was 
not until after their grand Immigration into ScandhDavia, under the com- 
mand of the hiitorical Odin, that the term Jetter or Jotun (which was the 
national appellatton of the aborlgenes of Scandinavia) was, in consequence 
of the long and bitter wars between the Asar and Jetter, and of the national 
hatred arising therefrom, applied by the Asar to those malevolent spirits, ' 
who, u they supposed, assisted their enemies, the Jetter. The self-love 
of all nations leads them to assume, that they are the favourites of the good 
gods, and that the evil spirits are the abettors, Instigators, and coadjutors 
of their enemies ; and even in our time, u has been wittily remarked by 
Washington Irving, a number of the good iori qf people in England, during 
the war against revolutionary France, thought that eomekow or other God 
Almighty was on the side of the English government. As a further con- 
firmation of my conjecture that the word Goth was unknoim to the Scan- 
dinavian peninsula, until introduced there by the Asar, I cite the follow- 
ing passage from a Saga, written in the Icelandic or ancient Scandinavian 
tongue : 

En dha voru dhessi Wnd er Asia menu bygdu kdllud Godlttnd, en f6lkid 
Oodjod. Odin ok bans synlr voru stdrum vilrir ok fjillkunnigir, fagrir at 



NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. :<53 

AUtuin, og sterkir hi afli. Marglr adrir i dbeirra «tt yoru mikiir afburd- 
barmenn, medh ymisligam algerleik, og nokkura af dheim f6ku menn til at 
bI6U og traa a, ok kdlladbu go4b sin. 

Tramiated tkuM : 

Tben this land, whicb Asia's people look possession of, was called God- 
land, and tbe people Godjod. Odin -and bb sons were very wise and 
skilled in many things, fair in aspect, and strong Uml>ed. Many of their 
race were men of great strength and of divers perfections, and the people 
began to worship some of them, and call them their gods. 



NOTES TO THE SIXTEENTH CANTO. 



Specimen of ibe metre. 

fncttl ^bttii i»ar i $acfigf cf/ ftob SBat^al font en ®rav/ 
Cn ftu^tbat Dec var opfludt af baefmftrfen ^at>/ 
3 QSorgenl 9te fatter l^ver iSuh {a^ i fin V&tM, 
00 font en SRarmefOdtre ftiw fan for ftd faac. 

The metre 1 have adopted for the translalioo of this Canto is somewhat 
more regular than that of the original : mine is In lines of thirteen syllables 
each: a slight pause after the seventh syllable will give the rylhm re- 
quired. 

(1) This Canto begins with a description of ibe fatal consequences of the 
absence of Iduna : all the pleasures of Valhalla are suspended. According 
to Finn Magnussen, the mythe of Skada's entry into Valhalla may be thus 
interpreted : Skada here typifies the violent winds and capricious tempe- 
rature of the commencement of spring, which proceeds from winter, as 

Skada does from her father, the frost- giant Thiassc. Though she enter;; 

29 



364 NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 

Valhalla with Tioteot designs, she becomes paelfled at tbe sij^ht of Balder 
(the SQD at the sammer solstice). Thus doth spring, commencing with 
tempests, become appeased and calm, from the increasing heal of the sun 
at the beginning of summer. The English reader will be here reminded 
of the old English proverb : '* Spring comes in like a lion, and goes out 
like a lamb. " 

(S) Hildur's favourite sport ; i. e. war. See this name in the Calatogue. 

(3) The story of the game of blind man's buff, called by the Northmen 
Nind eoWf in which Skada catches Niord, and is united to bim in marriage, 
is borrowed from the prosaic Edda. I can find no satisfactory solution of 
this mythe; it may mean, however, that the spring weather, after much 
shuffling and shilling about, settles down at last Into a mild serenity and 
constancy (during sunmier). But the matrimonial bliss of Niord and bis 
consort will not be of long duration. Towards the autumnal equinox, 
Skada*s capricious temper will break out, she will begin her mischievoui 
pranks again, and set winds and waves by the ears as usual. Skada's 
catching Niord by the leg in the game of blind man's buff, may mean the 
force of a tempest, which sometimes lifts men off their legs. 



NOTES TO THE SEVENTEENTH CANTO. 



Specimen of the metre. 

iDD^t ttbi $icfbc(aacii et jroimncr (lev (on Mcr ; 
en beiUd ^^ hM einth paa !8o(fhrene/ ftar : 
3 foben &'6^n ftun flumreb meb OiQe ^idcfinb/ 
Od SRordcnrdbcn Momfhrcb paa bcnbd Eiliefiitb. 

In my translation of this and of the two next Cantos, I have adopted, as 
a metre, the line of fourteen syllables. 



NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 355 

(1) Of all the giant race, the Hrimthasser were reckoned the most 
ferocioiu^ roagh, and ancouth. The names of Horseleg and Goatbeard 
are humouroasly giTen b| the poet to two of tbein, whom he represents as 
testifying their admiration of Gerda in a clownish and indelicate manner. 

(2) That the Jotans should appear to the Asar to be giants in size, and 
as having the heads of wolves^ bears, etc., has been accounted for in my 
preface to this work» which I hope the reader will consult and bear in 
mind. 

(3) This change was the consequence of the return of Jdmia to Val- 
halla. 

(4) In the original, Blaamandsland (blue man's land) : so Africa was 
called by the Scandinavians. 



NOTES TO THE EIGHTEENTH CANTO. 



Specimen of the melre. 

<Da ittc Um imbU ^ttitH gobc 6f9f9cnb , 
fScf efimir man ftam nae^ntv. ^u cr ^itn fier igien/ 
Zit fBvhvmt Hn tMttt, ba l^an bent Iimbc fcc/ 
9{tt ^un er i QSat^al : cnbt cr nu 9tferne< QScc l 

The natare and attributes of all the gods and goddessess seated at the 
banquet of Valhalla, are so fully detailed in the text, that notes to this 
Canto are almost snperflnous. 

(1) Alludes to Skirnir*s name, derived from $kima (to clear up, to 
brighten). , 

(8) Frey is sometimes called Freyr. 

(3) By this the poet means, no doubt, that the pearl and coral divers, 



356 NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 

from their being accatlomed lo remain for a long time nnder water, ate 
less liable to be drowned than other people. 

(4) By Ervin'a minster is meant the steeple of the cathedral of Stras- 
bargb, bailt by Enrin of Sleinbacb. 

(5) The nature of the message given by Odin to Hermod has been 

already related in the 15lh Canto. 



NOTES TO THE NINETEENTH CANTO. 



Specimen of the metre. 

$ra fSalaffialf ^it Ohin nn i ben narflc ^al ; 
X)ct ocnttb (am (Sinftttiaxf be dob i tttftnbtal: 
&n, ben gobe QSoatcrffe/ vtbtaabneb 9ortcn< ^l^y 
^a tvMhtt mettem jTsemper Dbin ben J^erre faa W- 



(I) Starkodder was the greatest warrior of his time, and was deifled 
after his death. His name was ever in the greatest veneration among the 
Scandinavians. Thoogh he liilled Oluf, he repented It ever afterwards, 
and in this poem the poet pots into Olufs month the generous sentiment, 
that Starkodder, in killing him and making him die in blood, had perhaps 
saved him from dying by old age or sickness ; in which case, instead of 
being in Valhalla, he would have risked falling into the hands of Hela. 
According to the author of this work, CEhienschlager (who has made 
Starkodder the subject of a most Interesting tragedy), OlnPs death was 
revenged by his son Frode Frskne, who clove Starkodder's scull In single 
combat. In the above tragedy Frode, after killing Starkodder, renders 
ample justice to his military talent and eiploils, and anticipates, in the fol- 
lowing manner, his reception among the heroes of Valhalla : 



NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 357 

'* Now he's a god ! at th* command of Thor 
Five hundred forty massive gates of Trudvang, 
Each broad and long, and made of bronze, ope wide 
With fearful clang ; in brilliant armour clad 
Five hundred forty heroes from each gate 
Rush forth to meet him, and with ioud applause 
Thus do they greet the chief : Ali hail ! Starkodder I 
Thou greatest after Tyr and Asa-Thor !" 

(2) The purport of this message is explained in the twenty-first Canto. 
It was to obtain from the dwarfs a magic chain, wherewith to bindFenris. 

fl) This butting match between Asa-Lok and one of Tbor's goats was 
no doubt suggested to the poet (for there is no account of It in either 
Edda) by the painting or mosaic found in Herculaoenm, 1 believe, or in 
Pompeii, and which bu been made the subject of many a bat-relief, 
medallion, or cameo : viz. a satyr butting against a goat. To CEhlensch- 
IVger may well be applied the line of Haiey respecting Ariosto : 

*' The bard of pathos now, and now of mirth ! '* 



NOTES TO THE TWENTIETH CANTO. 



Specimen of the metre. 

!Da vraffoffe 
3 tatttt ^foffc 

SOlcb 6vacrd af eMt/ etc. 

I have chosen the octosyllabic couplet for my translation. ^ 

The mythologic formation of the island of Sealand (of which Copenhagen 

is the present capital), and which forms the subject of this Canto, Is thus 

given in the poetic Edda : 



358 NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 

" Oladly drew Ge6oD 

From the powerful Oyllfe* 

Oenmark's anneiation, 

So that it smoked after the springing oxen . 

Four beads and eight eyes 

Had the oxen, who drew 

The piece of earth after them, 

To form the favoariie island." 

(I) The etymology of Sealand, called formerly and more properly ^'(b- 
Innd, is from the Danish words tcB (sea) and Umd (grore). 

m 

(8) (EreaoBd is the appellation for what other nations call the Soimif par 
excellenee ; for $wtd means a channel or strait. 



NOTES TO THE TWENTY-FIRST CANTO. 



In the original, tbb Canto is written in the classic hexameter, which 
seems to suit wonderfully well the Danish and Swedish languages. 



Specimen of the metre. 

^tn ba ^IMM bag Sictb vat 09gtcf/ baefttd forfuldt af 
SfRaancgami/ ben betHn^cbc XtQtbr font ftebfc ben atn^fttt, 
^ttft nfonlig f9t SDlcnnefferl <8(if/ bog fhinbitm i StegnffD 
eonlig font ttiO/ noar i ^unflcrtte brua bM vtfer fti ^obcb. 

I have given my translation in the ten syllabled heroic couplet. 



NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 359 

(1) Horteleg and Ooalbeard ; names of the two gianta mentioned Id the 
1 7th Canto as haTing behafed rudely to Gerda. 

(2) Qaaser in the Icelandic language signifies breath arhupiraiion. The 
story of Quaser is probably an oriental one of some poet, irbo was mur^ 
dared by those who were jealous of his talents, and mtftdwauft m gentuw 
compared to him. 

(3) The story of the stone, which Odin casts among the giants to incite 
them to discord, resembles mnch a circumstance mentioned in the poem 
of Apollonius of Rhodes, called **The Argonauts*' in the 3d Canto. " But 
the giants, springing from the furrows which he had traced, covered with 
their arms the field he had ploughed. Jason, returning, rushes toward 
them, and throws amongst them an enormous stone ; many are crushed by 
it ; others, disputing for its possession, slay one another. *' In fact, the 
amour of Odin with Ounliod has some sort of resemblance in the bej^inning 
to that of Jaion and Medea. ( 



NOTES TO THE TWENTY-SECOND CANTO. 



Specimen of the metre. 

^u Unflerfbatb/ font fnff er ronl mcb (teden 5tinbi 

$avW d ^reiKk ftgner bit fSrpfl/ 

$arM btt ci fan bUc iloltcn 9^H 6inbi etc. 

In stanxas of eight lines. 

In my translation 1 hsTe adopted the 9Ha»a rima. 

(I) Freya's grief for the loss of Odur is related in the 15ih Canto. 
Freyais often tormed by the Scalds the '* goddess of the golden tear.'' 



360 NOTBS AND ELUCIDATIONS. 



NOTES TO THE TWENTY-THIRD CANTO. 



Specimen of the metre. 

9cu iitt etvcniv, 6\>ab ^an fnnbe/ 
Titb ah bett itvinnt 9ledtt6neranb/ 
J^en over ^orbeitS bunfle Eunbc/ 
1>a font ^B tit Xvof bfaempelaitt. 
iDet Mr fern QSinbem QScien over; 
^tn in^tn ^om fan bobc Btovi 
3)(t bar fom !81ae(l paa J^abet^ t8ober/ 
iDer'frofer QJdld^nJ iovtt top. 

In the metre I have adopted for this Canio, 1 have iotrodaced occasion- 
ally ^oapesls. for the sake of greater variety. 

In this Canto the poet has diverged considerably from either Edda, and 
has boldly and felicitously slietched a plan of his own, into vrhich, however^ 
he has interwoven ideas tal^en from three different Cantoa of the poetic 
Edda : viz HarbareVt tong ; Alvigmal (discourse of Alvit) ; Skimiiifor 
(journey of Sicirnir). In the first, Harliard's song, itisThor, and not 
Slcirnir, who enters into a dialogue with Harbard, whom he meets at the 
fiord. In the second, Alvismal, the subject of the Canto It a dialogue be- 
tweenThor and the dwarf Alvis (all-wise), wherein the latter maices a pom- 
pous display of his learning, by giving definitions and lynonymea ot earth, 
heaven, ivtrnf, Jire^ nearly in the same manner that Skiroir does in this 
Canto. In the third, Skirnir*s Journey, whereiQ Sklrair it sent by Frey to 
propose marriage to Oerda, are mentioned the ferocioos dogs which 
guard the dwelling of giant Oyroer, the father of Gerda. 

(1) Fiord means a creek or arm of the sea running inland ; on the coast 
of Norway the fiords run for a very considerable distance inland ; and thus 
flowing from the sea at the high tide form a contrast with the course of the 
rivers. 



NOTBS AND ELUCIDATIONS. 361 

(2) The word tkoeUMt foot, in the origloal ntf^ne Fod^ seems horrowed 
from the speech of Harhard to Thor, in Harbard's song in the poetic Edda, 
wherein he says. 



Thou dost not look, ai If thou 
Three domains possess'd ; 
* Bare -legged thou standest, 
In beggar's apparel. 



(8) The remarlis on the females of the Jotun race seem likewise bor- 
rowed from the same chapter in the poetic Edda : 

We had sprightly women, 
Were they but gentle ; 
We had clever women, 
Were they Wfond of us. 

(4) Diypial means DrtppinykaU. 

(5) Oppheim means abode above, 

(6) The original has SeeUJ^ebn (cool helmet), and means a covering (o 
protect the head against the rays of the ton ; I have therefore chosen the 
word umbrella at the most appropriate expreulon. 

(7) Alludes to the diflference betwen a fiord and a river. 

(6) With respect to Oestur and his riddles, they are not to be found 
in the Edda ; but the poet has borrowed the idea from the Hervara Saga, 
wherein king Heidrek, who had a great talent for divining riddles and 
enigmas, had a great many proposed to him by Odin, under the disguise 
of the blind Oestur. 

Probiibly because Thor had taken ofT his shoeu, in order to ford the 
stream. 



36S 



NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 



Exiract from the Her? ara Saga io the original Icelandfc, with a literal 
translalioo. 



Heiman ik for, 
Heiman 6k ferdadist ; 
SA 6k a veg Tega : 
Vegr Tar undir ; 
Vcgr var yfir, 
Ok ver gA alia : 
Heidrekr kongr ! 
Hyggta at galu? 



From home I went. 
From borne I travelled. 
Saw 1 on way ways : 
The way- was under, 
Tbe way was over, 
And the way over all ; 
Heidrek king f 
Oaessest thon tbe riddle? 



God er gAta dbin, 
Gestr blindi ! 
G6tit er dbeirrar : 
Fogl dhar yfir flo ; 
Fif kr dbar andir svam 
Fortu A bru. 



Good is riddle thine, 
Gestur blind ! 
Guessed is it : 
Bird there over flew ; 
Fish there under swam ; 
Thyself went on bridgi . 



NOTES TO THE TWENTYFOUUTH CANTO. 



I'bis Canto in the original Is written in the classic beiameter. 

Specimen. 

^a nu Btitnit blev vacr ben ovfabtfi^tverne eaaoc/ 
j^«or meb fnlfort etaiM f^am en fBroH dtatbannebe etttnM 
fBeien vtfle ; ba Qit han berinM D0 brat tion befanbr ftg 
%ntt i fvi tuft. J^imten t>ar btaa meb utiimt etittntv, etc. 



1 have chosen for my translation our heroic couplet. 



NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 363 

(1) The poet, Id this line, alludes no doubt to the uudeao food often 
used hy the inhabitants of Finm^jrk, 

(3) This part of Ger^a^s sp^ect). remiltds me of the discourse of the 
beaulifui Marcela, in the XIV chapter « 3d book, part 1st of Don Quixote. 

In this Canto the poet has diverged consLdecablr from the chapter in the 
poetic Edda, called the Skimisfor, irhich treats of the same subject. In 
(Ehlenschlager's poem, as has been seen, Skimir makes use of the most 
gentle and insinuating means of persuasion to induce Oerda to give ear 
to his proposal ; and the stratagem ofFreyls likeness conveyed from the 
brook into Gerda's basin is entirely the poet's ovrn eaneeitOf and it is, 1 
think, a very ingenious one : vrhereas, in the Edda, $klrnir makes use of 
the most terrible threats and sinister predictions, in orderto force Gerda to 
accede to his master's vrislies ; and at length he succeeds in terrifying her 
into submission : among other threats, which are not of the most decent 
nature, he tells her that she shall either be wedded to a frightful three- 
headed Goblin of the Hrimtbussar race, or pine a maid, tormented with tbe 
roost violent desires, which cannot be gratified. 



NOTE TO THE TWENTY-FIFTH CANTO. 

* 

In the original, the metre of this Canto is written in imitation of one 
much used in the ancient Danish ballads, which, admitting a njrain that 
seems to have little or no connection with (he substance of the ballad, cod- 
tinue it in every stanza throughout the piece. Here are three different 
rrfraim used in successloD throughout the mhq^e C*ai|to, except in the two 
last stanias. 

Specimen. 

tDa 6f irnir oaagneb i naefie ®ro/ 
(€f>lflraa(en i efpen fig Httv) 



364 NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 

!Da ftob mth !8en(id(eb ut ^an^^So 
!Bier0tro(bei| i ^atibferpfabcr. 

eom ®tt(bbranb<b9(en iaa (tacrf 00 fang' 
(^e Sudfe quibbrc paa ®rciic) 

3 •^aanbeit bar ^an en fortbraenbt etauip 
iDod fh)b (»an bev ei attcite. ; 

^am fttlgte troUd ben (Dattcr bntb ; 

(lDu0braaben gtmbfer paa fBf ommen) 
60m IRanfen orttflouder ben runtne ^uh 

J^nn bar meb ^aberen iDmrnen. 

Q^t tBaegcr bun tnb for euben bar/ 
(€^oIflraa(ett i etntu fig babcr)/ etc. 

1 have followed exactly the same plan in mj translation. 



NOTE TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH CANTO. 



This Canto in the original is written in the octosyllabic couplet. I 
have adopted the same metre for the translation. 

Specimen of the metre. 

Titt bleb ber Srpb i fSatbatJ ®aarb 
3 ftne SSabmet/ b(Me ^awt 
S>en ff ionne SBiergett ^ige f et r 
3va Sielber og fra gronnen ^orb. 
Mb ^ifrofl brod ben unge fSrnb/ 
3 euften ftt9 er erierneffub. 

(1) Gefion's strand is the island of Sealand. 



NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 365 



NOTES TO THE TWENTY- SEVENTH CANTO. 



Specimen of the inelre in the original. 

3 J^a»et fttmhtt Occn > 

9?ii J^f dev fun cr lihtu/ 
Zfii {8i^(0ente me^ Xiben 

^ar vt'^iti ben i 65en ; 
SDlen f^or i OlbtiM S)a0e 

!Dcn fneifeb ^bi eg brat/ 
Dd trobfeb 9torbett< (Dvage/ 

^et forte ^attcdat 

The subject of this Canto is taicen from the celebrated chapter in the 
poeUc Edda, called *' .^Bgir's feast" or ''Lok's scurrility," to account for 
the origin, object and meaning of which, has pulled all the commentators 
of the Edda. The most simple iektireiiMement thereof seems to be that 
of Finn Magnnssen, who thinks that the author of it may have been a sort 
of Scandinafian Lucian, who wished to throw a sly ridicule on the gods 
of his country. (EhlenschMger has varied, augmented, and embellished 
the subject with imagery and embroidery of his own, and has omitted cer- 
tain parts of somewhat too obscene a nature. 

(1) Skidbladner, name of 'the bark given by Gerda to Frey. l*he fol- 
lowing is probably the explanation of this myihe. Frey signiGcs the sun : 
Gerda, the earth. Skidbladner signifies the clouds or vapours extracted 
from the earth by the rajs of the sun. See Skidbladner in the AlpbabcUcal 
Catalogue. 

(8) Hringhorn ; name of Balder's bark. The language of the ancient 
Scandinavians was highly poetical and metaphorical. A ship was often 
compared to an animal, and its masts to the horns of the said animal ; the 
masts were made fast with iron rings round their circumference, and this 1 
take to be the surest etymology of the word Hringhorn or Ringhorn. 
The ships of the Vikings were longand deep, and had usually but one mast. 



366 NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 

(3) Naglefare :. See the CaUiogue. 

(4) It seems to me as if the author has taken this idea from the accooDt 
giTeo in Coolers voyages of the women of Olaheite swimming oflf from the 
shore to the ship, to loolc out for lovers among the sailors. 

(5) 1 here admow ledge a plagiarism from Dryden, in bis quaint transla- 
tion of the NooimuM et qui ie fa theTbird'Bacolic of Virgil. 

(6) AUodes to Thor and his companions' adventure related in the 
Second Canto. 



NOTES TO THE TWENTYEIGHTH CANTO. 



The metre in the original is in eoopiela as follows : • 

J^en 2oU fiht i ^auh font Qtm, flimet Uaat 
91 ae be facte 69tter ^an ftart paa !D9(et faae. 
^n fhrafte fi0 meb Viideft/ ^an bu0t(b fid meb 3<(- 
9«a Stft^n fnl§te SBotrben meb Otitt bam en 9Rii(. 

The metre 1 have adopted for the translation of thisCantois the couplet of 
lines of fourteen syllables occasionally fanterpened with couplets of thirteen syl- 
lables. In reading the latter, a pause should be madeafter the seventh syllable. 
This metre resembles that of the original, and has much of its prosaic and 
familiar march. This Canto and the next are based on the chapter of the 
poetic Edda, caned Thrymsqvida. 

(1) King Hro founded the town of Roeskild, situate where Leire once 
stood. Roeskild is about twenty-five English miles disUnt W. from Co- 
penhagen, and has a magnificent cathedral, which is the cemetery of the 
Danish kings. 



NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 367 

(2) Kongebo, ineani royal residence or palace. 

(3) GianiM'banet in Icelandic J<)fii?i front, name given by tbe Scalds to 
Thor, on account of bis constant enmity towards the giants. 



NOTES TO THE TWENTY^NINTH CANTO. 



Specimen of tbe metre in the original. 

SEReb eofe foer 
9aa ®9lbciif«rm 
Xi( ^itlhtH eutn ; 
Od ^oU fob 
3 ^itviti 0(ab 
33eb 9uhtn$ J^arnt/ 
Xi( 3etter< gneen. 

6aa reif^e be frem mebetil ^lippeti ff iaiV/ 
9Dteb fit gabenbc Stlift ettmUtx^tt fpraf/ 
00 ben ^nie faa fort fuit aaftneb f!0 ^fV/ 
Cd en Sue meb ®nift giennem snnlmet traf. 

1 bare adopted for tbe translation of this Canto a metre, alternatively 
trochaic and anapestic. 

(1) It wu the custom, at tbe marriage ceremony of the ancient Scan- 
dinaviaDS in Ibe pagan time, for the betrothed to svrear fidelity to each 
other, in touching tbe hammer of Tlior. May not this aocoaut for the 
ceremony of marriage at Gretna-green l>eing always performed by a blaok- 
smith? Tbe lowland Scots are of Scandinavian origin, and they hare 
preserved many a custom and many a superstition of their ancestors. 



aes NOTES AND ELUCIDATIONS. 

(2) Respecting Hrugoer aod Mokkarcalf, please to consalt the Alpha- 
betical Catalogue. 



The follow log explanatiooof the foregoing niytbe is given by the Swedish 
poet Ling : 

The loss of Thor's hammer, and its remaining eigki miles under 
ground in the hands of Thrymur the frost giant, denotes the Impotence 
or inactiyity of the electrical fluid during the eight months* winter of 
the northern regions. The invitation of Thrymur to Freya typifles the 
struggle of nature at the approach of spring, to renew its vitality. 

Stuhr's opinion of this mythe is much the same as that of Ling. 
He ihinlis it to l>e a hymn in honour of spring, typified by Freya. Thor 
borrows Freya's attire, i. e. in spring the electrical heat resumes lis force. 
Thor travels with Loptur (the air) to Thrymur. They are furnished 
with a copious repast ; i. e. at the approach of and by the influence of 
spring, the unfruitfulness of the earth ceases. When Asa-Lok speaks of 
the eight mgkti of longing passed by the pretended Freya, it means the 
progressive changes undergone by the polar atmosphere during the eight 
winter months, before the heat finally obtains the mastery. The immense 
appetite and quantity of mead drank by Thor denote the absorption of the 
earth^s vapours by the electrical fire of summer, and the death of Thrymur 
denotes the total disappearance of winter. It is scarcely necessary to 
remind the reader, that MiUlner, the hammer of Thor, typifies, almost 
everywhere, thunder, or the electrical fire and its effects. 



In the Greek poem of Nonnus, called the Dionysiacs, or Actions of 
Bacchus, we find a mythe having no doubt the same signification as that 
of the Thrymsqvida. Jupiter at the approach of winter loses his thunder- 
bolts, which fail into the hands of the giant Typhon. He recovers them 
in spring, by means of a stratagem of Cadmus, and soon after makes use 
of them to discomfit and slay the giant Typhon. 



NQTB8 AND lUJOIDATIOIiS. M« 

MOTE TO THE THIRTIETH GANTO, 

Id the original this Canto Is written in tersa rhna as foUows. 

IDa X^or nn dittcfab/ 0s eittt «ar Stamptu, 
XHi dftg cii tattdfom 9t9d ftf ^tUt^UUtf 
D0 (Mb o# mf •yfl^fhibc fig tDamyeii. 

IDa ffiaeIMb 8orf brat 08 tabrc ^obct^ etc. 

Besldflt the dlfBealtj of the tena rono, It it a metre not Tery well 
Boited to the genios of the EjogUfrii Uwwe. 1 havi^ therefore, gl?en m j 
translation of this Canto in blank Yerse, foUowIng the eumple of Carey in 
his fersion of Dante. 

The subject of this Canto seems taken partly from some strophes in the 
Volnspi, and partly from the Vaftmdnismal, which are the names of two 
of the most important chapters of the poetic Bdda. 

(1) Gugner, jmpt of Odln'i lanee. 

This Canto does not require notes, bnt as it may amuse the reader lo 
compare the history of the destraction and reproduction of the world with 
the accomit thereof gWen In the Bdda, 1 here subjoin some extracts from 
the two chapters aboTe mentioned, following Finn Magnnssen's translation. 
I think the reader will remark some resemblance between certato parts of 
this Canto and certain parts of the A poc al y p se. The battle between Thor 
and the Serpent Jormundgaid is Ml mike th» combat between the Arch- 
angel Michael and the great dragon; and the palace of Oimle, the fdture 
abode of the blessed, presents an Image of the new Jerusalem. 



30 



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